No definite date on when fire-ravaged Charlotte Maxeke will fully reopen
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Johannesburg - Gauteng provincial government says as repairs progress at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital (CMJAH), there will be a more definite date on when the hospital will fully reopen.
The hospital in Parktown resumed oncology services on Monday and received the hospital’s first patients following the blaze that engulfed the CMJAH in April. Its closure had a severe impact on the province’s health-care system as Gauteng has been hard-hit by the third wave of Covid infections.
Hospital chief executive Gladys Bogoshi emphasised on Monday that the rest of the hospital was not open and reiterated that radiation oncology patients would be called by the hospital and patients must not just arrive.
“For the rest of the other people, wherever you are, if you are collecting your medication or attending treatment, you need to continue going there,” Bogoshi said.
The limited reopening of the cancer unit was welcomed by the DA’s health spokesperson in Gauteng, Jack Bloom but he questioned when critical care beds at the hospital would be used to treat Covid-19 patients.
“There are more than 100 ICU beds that need to be put in operation as soon as possible, but no timetable has been given as to when this will happen. Doctors at other Gauteng hospitals are making agonising choices about which patients get the chance to survive in an ICU bed, while others die because they cannot get specialist care,” Bloom said.
He added that it was still a mystery why large sections of the hospital that were assessed as structurally safe cannot be opened immediately.
“Premier David Makhura has said that he is prepared to go to jail for opening the hospital despite non-compliance with technical safety issues by the Johannesburg City Council that would otherwise keep the hospital closed until September. If this is the case, why is the rest of the structurally sound part of the hospital not reopened immediately?” he said.
Bloom added that Makhura must use emergency powers or apply for an exemption while fire safety doors were installed.
“There is no time to waste in restoring the use of critical care beds at the hospital to save lives during this terrible epidemic,” he said.
The Gauteng provincial government said last week during the Command Council media briefing that Blocks 1 and 2 of the hospital would be reopened next, after the oncology unit, followed by parts of Block 3 and 5. They added that Block 4 would take a little longer to reopen due to the level of damage caused by the fire.
Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development and Property Management Tasneem Motara told The Star on Tuesday that the department handed over the entire oncology radiation building to CMJAH.
“For the next blocks, we are busy with the works and as we continue and get more confirmation of, for example, material and we have progress on site, we will be able to confirm more or less when they will open,” Motara said.
Meanwhile, Bogoshi added on Monday that the CMJAH responded to assisting with the Covid-19 healthcare battle by deploying their staff at other hospitals including a 23-bed ward at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital which would open on Saturday.