Patients at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital can expect to wait five hours to receive a file, see a doctor and get their medicine, the DA said. File picture: Nokuthula Mbatha/ANA

Johannesburg - Patients at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Johannesburg can expect to wait five hours to receive a file, see a doctor and get their medicine, the main opposition Democratic Alliance said on Wednesday.

Citing a written reply by Gauteng member of the executive council (MEC) for health, Bandile Masuku, to questions in the provincial legislature, the DA's Jack Bloom said he was also concerned that priority two casualty patients had to wait on average for 69 minutes, up from 25 minutes last year.

"According to Bandile, the long waiting times are due to “high patient volumes, burden of diseases, defaulting patients and staffing in relation to patient volumes," said Bloom, who is the DA's shadow MEC for health in Gauteng.

"These waiting times are unacceptable, adding extra suffering to sick people. We need to see efficiency improvements, adequate staffing, and alternative arrangements for chronic medicines so that patients can pick them up at convenient locations rather than a crowded hospital."

He said radical improvement was needed at public hospitals if the government was serious about implementing the proposed National Health Insurance.

African News Agency (ANA)