New Natalspruit hospital has fewer maternity beds than old

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC

The new Natalspruit Hospital in Vosloorus has 14 fewer maternity and antenatal beds than the old hospital, a design fault that has contributed to the overcrowding in these departments.

This is revealed in a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

Whereas the old hospital had 74 maternity beds and 38 antenatal beds, the new hospital has 68 beds in maternity and 30 antenatal beds.

According to Mahlangu, overcrowding is more severe because “there is an increased patient load and there are lesser beds than there were in the old hospital. This was identified prior to the relocation hence management reconfigured wards according to various units’ requirements. The hospital structure does not allow further expansion.

It is a great pity that patients have to suffer because of bad planning in building the new hospital.

This makes it all the more important that maternity patients are given quality care at the two referral district hospitals, namely Heidelberg Hospital and the Bertha Gxowa Hospital in Germiston, and are referred to Natalspruit only when necessary.

Clinics should also be upgraded and have extended hours and doctors so that the referral system can work properly in ensuring that patients are treated at the appropriate level of care.