Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
1789 patients wait for up to 18 months for a cataract operation at the St John’s Eye Clinic at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
This was disclosed yesterday by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a reply to my questions at a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature.
The long waiting list has been worsened by 526 cataract operations that were cancelled or deferred last year.
According to Mahlangu, the cancellations were mostly due to patient factors such as ill-health or lack of consent, but I have heard many stories of cancellations due to equipment failure and staff shortage.
For instance, on 20 January this year, patients with scheduled operations were told to go home because machinery was not working.
It was also reported last year that there were 19 vacancies out of 40 positions.
The St John’s Eye Clinic has the longest waiting time for cataracts in Gauteng.
This is inhumane and an abuse of the elderly which should not be allowed to continue.
We need special measures to improve the situation there as soon as possible, such as the extension of operating hours over weekends, and a partnership with the private health sector.