1 Military Hospital in Pretoria. Photo: INLSA

Pretoria - Patients in most wards of 1 Military Hospital in Pretoria have to use their cellphones to call nurses when they need help, Beeld reported on Tuesday.

This because the emergency call system for patients was still out of order after two years, the newspaper reported.

The hospital has just received its second ultimatum this year from the Tshwane municipality's emergency services to ensure that call systems and other fire alarm defects are corrected. The deadline is October 28.

A few years ago, the hospital had to be shut down because of defects in its fire safety system, and this could happen again if the current deadline is not met.

The latest deadline follows one set earlier this year to correct shortcomings in the hospital's R56 million refurbishment project, apparently the result of a dispute between the department of public works (DPW) and a contractor who was responsible for the system's installation.

The DPW and the military are jointly responsible for correcting defects.

Selby Bokaba, spokesman for the Tshwane municipality, said a fire consultant had been consulted, who had drawn up a proper emergency plan for the hospital.

During a follow-up inspection problems with the call system were highlighted.

The SA Military Health Service said earlier that efforts were being made to resolve the ongoing issues. - Sapa