Steve Biko Academic Hospital acting head Dr Mathabo Mathebula showing the media some of the lifts they managed to fix. Picture: Oupa Mokoena/ANA
Pretoria - The management of Steve Biko Academic Hospital say they are utilising golf carts, motor vehicles, shuttles and evacuation equipment to support patients and staff to service areas.

This follows the dilemma of having to use one out of the 19 hospital lifts in recent days.

Acting chief executive officer, Dr Mathabo Mathebula said while patients remained their first priority, critically ill patients and other areas had been affected by the challenges with the lifts.

“Patients that are critically ill, their relatives, those who have disabilities, moving food, theatre beds and carrying beds to the wards - those are the areas that have been affected,” Mathebula said.

She spoke in a meeting where hospital management and government representatives were getting feedback on the problem and updates on repairs to the lifts.

She said seven of the lifts were already up and running. “We are pleased to inform you that we have since managed to get lifts up and running as of Tuesday,” she said.

One of them is used mainly by the security staff and six others by patients and the public.

“The contractor has promised that two more lifts will be up and running tomorrow, they are currently sourcing parts to put these lifts at a level where they can be declared safe and ready to be utilised.”

When the Pretoria News team and officials were at one of the floors and door of a lift yesterday afternoon, the situation had improved from that of Tuesday, when large groups of people - staff, patients and relatives - clamoured for hours at the doors of the lift.

Management said they were still awaiting confirmation as to when the rest would be ready for use.

The hospital said it was working hard to make sure that all went back to normal. “We regret the inconvenience, hence the attention that is being given to the matter. Two departments, Infrastructure and Development and Health, are working to make sure the problem is fixed as soon as possible.

“We would like to apologise to the public for the inconvenience caused and we want to thank them for their co-operation and understanding during this period,” management said.

To avoid the situation further deteriorating head of Department of Infrastructure and Development, Bethuel Netshiswinzhe said they had switched from using general services providers to maintain the lifts, to appointing original equipment manufacturers.

Pretoria News