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More than 2 600 patients wait for surgical procedures at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital

Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi. Picture: Timothy Bernard/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 25, 2022

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Pretoria – The Gauteng Department of Health says the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital is using various interventions to reduce long waiting times for surgical procedures at the facility which has been rocked by repeated fires.

Spokesperson Motalatale Modiba said the interventions include opening a second theatre on Tuesdays and Fridays for cardiothoracic (heart, lungs, chest organs) surgeries.

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Patients who are due for smaller cases of plastic surgery, neurosurgery, cardiothoracic, paediatric and other general surgeries are referred to Bertha Gxowa District Hospital and those who are due for minor colorectal cases are referred to South Rand District Hospital every two weeks.

“To date there are 2 677 patients awaiting surgical procedures in various health categories at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. The reasons for long waiting times vary. These range from shortage of organ donors, insufficient theatre time and intensive care unit beds, the fire at the hospital, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Modiba said.

To increase organ donation uptake, Modiba said the hospital conducts monthly educational drives, as well as hosting online webinars about donor identification and donor management.

“These are part of efforts to increase the donor pool to include other regions such as the North West and Mpumalanga provinces. The Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital is also collaborating with the Nelson Mandela Children Hospital to increase the number of kidney transplants and the University of Cape Town and Stellenbosch University for the HIV-to-HIV kidney transplant programme,” said Modiba.

“Moreover, the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital is soliciting private-public partnerships to sponsor the training of surgeons in liver transplantation, as part of efforts to increase liver transplants in government facilities.”

Gauteng Health revealed that it can take up to 10 years for a patient to have an organ transplant at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital “depending on donor and type of case”.

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Earlier this month, the Gauteng Health Department said a smouldering fire which was detected in an unused parking bay at the facility had been brought under control.

“Security personnel reported that there was smoke that seemed to be coming from one of the structures. Firefighters for the City of Joburg immediately responded to the situation and managed to contain the fire which was confined to a small section of the level two parking,” Modiba said.

He said police officers from the Hillbrow police station also attended the scene.

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In April last year, patients were moved to other hospitals in Gauteng, particularly the Steve Biko Academic Hospital and the Tshwane District Hospital, after the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital was gutted by an inferno.

In August, the Gauteng Health Department opened a case of theft at the Hillbrow police station in Joburg after several appliances were stolen at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, after the fire outbreak.

In May, the Gauteng health authorities also confirmed that a fire had broken out at the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.

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