Mahatma Gandhi mortuary: More delays

George Mari, MPP

Member of the DA in the KZN Legislature

Despite the desperate need for such a facility, Mahatma Gandhi medical staff will have to wait at least another six months before construction is completed on the hospital’s R68 million mortuary.

The information emerged in a parliamentary reply to the DA by KZN Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, which confirms that the mortuary completion date has had to be moved to February 2014.

Building at the site stopped in October 2012 after the original contractors, who were awarded the contract in December the previous year, went under.  A new contractor has recently been appointed.

While insurance of works has saved the department from financial loss, the fact is that the real costs of the delays will be felt most by the staff of Mahatma Ghandi Hospital.

In a previous statement the DA pointed out that Mahatma Gandhi is a “crisis situation”. The areas north of the city are in desperate need of a proper mortuary and have been waiting many years for this facility.

Mahatma Gandhi has still not shed its image as the “Hospital of Death” and the high number of deaths recorded within the neonatal and maternal areas is a major cause for concern.

The shortage of doctors and senior nursing staff, along with poor health services can be directly linked to the high number of deaths at the hospital.

The shelving of the construction of two major hospitals in eThekwini, along with an increasing number of patients is also impacting on hospital staff, many of whom are over worked.  The MEC needs to ensure that Mahatma Gandhi is adequately staffed so that conditions improve.  The cut in budget is also impacting on service levels.

The mortuary at Mahatma Gandhi is urgently needed and the DA sincerely hopes that there will be no more unacceptable delays.  The newly appointed contractor must be properly assessed to ensure that this company has the necessary resources and ability to finish the project in time and on budget.