Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. File picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng hospitals and clinics have been hit by Eskom's load shedding in the past week, with some generators failing and operations being cancelled as full functions cannot take place even with generator power, the Democratic Alliance said on Sunday.

"Helen Joseph Hospital suffered a failed generator in the emergency department which led to severe problems as x-rays could not be done and blood could not be processed," DA Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom said.

At other hospitals, there was discomfort with dark corridors and elective surgery had been limited to some degree as there was a risk that the generators could fail, he said.

At the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital surgeons were reluctant to do longer operations as the batteries on anaesthetic machines only lasted for 90 minutes.

Patient administration was affected as computers went down and manual systems had to be used instead.

"I am concerned that some hospitals and clinics do not have enough diesel for long-term use of generators," Bloom said.

At Badirile Clinic in Randfontein the diesel ran out and nurses were told to contribute their own money to buy diesel. Diesel was expensive and the health department had not budgeted for it, so it would squeeze out other vitally needed expenditure.

"Waiting lists for operations will lengthen and there will be a higher risk for patients if Eskom continues to fail in providing a reliable electricity supply," Bloom said.

African News Agency (ANA)