A patient lies on the floor in a storeroom at Mamelodi Hospital.
Pretoria - Reports of patients lying on the floor and in storage rooms or sitting on casualty benches because of a lack of beds have surfaced at Mamelodi Day Hospital.

However, the Department of Health in Gauteng told the Pretoria News that much as there were challenges at the hospital, some of the claims made by patients were false.

Itumeleng Tsela said he was informed that his 79-year-old father, a diabetic also battling kidney failure, had been rushed to the hospital on Tuesday at noon.

More than 15 hours later, he still had to see a doctor.

He said he called the office of the chief executive to inform him that his father had not been attended to. He was assured it would be attended to promptly.

Tsela said after leaving work around 6pm, he rushed to be at his father’s bedside, only to find him still waiting to be seen by a doctor. He had not received medical attention.

The Mamelodi East resident alleged that on inquiring from staff on what was holding up the service, he was informed there were only two doctors on call and that resources were limited.

“I begged the nurses to at least administer a drip for my father to get his fluids up, but they insisted only a doctor could give them the go-ahead,” said Tsela. “I went as far as asking them to at least give my father a transfer letter so we could take him to Steve Biko Academic Hospital. They still insisted that only a doctor could authorise the transfer.”

While waiting for help, Tsela alleged he also noticed another patient, a woman, lying on the floor in one of the medicine storage rooms. “Some of the nurses try their best to assist us and speak about how their jobs are made difficult by the lack of resources,” he said, adding that his father eventually saw a doctor at 2.05am.

Tsela said while his father was given a drip and admitted by the doctor, they were told he would have to wait on the casualty benches as there were no beds available.

Lesemang Matuka, a spokesperson for the Gauteng Department of Health, said the they were aware of general challenges at the hospital. Matuka said allegations that there were only two doctors on call at the hospital were false. He said as of August 31, the hospital had 109 doctors, including 22 medical specialists. On any given after-hours shift, Matuka said there were a minimum 10 doctors covering the hospital on site, and three to four would be working in the Accident and Emergency Unit.

He said the hospital catered for patients from Mamelodi, Nellmapius, Eersterus, East Lynne, Cullinan, Pretoria East, Nkangala and Bronkhorstspruit.

“The need for additional personnel is more of a moving target annually owing to in-migration, as well as an increasing burden of disease and growing population,” he said.

Matuka said the hospital was initially built as a district (level 1) hospital, but was converted into a regional (level 2) hospital after completion.

“Some beds have been delivered to the hospital and additional renovations are under way to increase bed capacity by 69 beds before the end of the 2017/18 financial year,” he added.

A further 20 beds will be added during the 2018/19 financial year.

Pretoria News