Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC of Health
A total of 388 operations were deferred from January to July this year at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
This means that surgeons have had to cancel more than two operations every weekday for largely avoidable reasons.
According to Mahlangu, operational reasons for the deferments include the following:
- “There are very limited numbers of beds in ICU and failure to secure an ICU bed results in cancellations.”
- “Difficult cases can take longer than expected.”
- “Not enough operating room … Each unit having one and half theatre list per week.”
Patient-related reasons include patients who eat food before the operation, decline to give consent or are seen to be unfit for surgery.
The high number of deferred operations worsens the waiting list for surgery, which currently stands at 954 patients, some of whom will wait up to 12 months for complicated surgery.
I agree with Mahlangu’s proposed solutions to this problem, which include solving the operational issues and down-referral of minor cases to lower level hospitals.
There is a particular need to increase the number of ICU beds as soon as possible.
Working equipment is also important to ensure that surgery goes smoothly.
I hope that the management issues are speedily resolved as cancelled operations cause much distress to anxious and suffering patients.