By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
The number of patients seen at the casualty department of Edenvale Hospital has grown tremendously from 820 patients in 2012 to 4399 patients seen from January to September this year.
These figures are revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
Patient casualty figures have risen as follows:
- 2012 – 820 patients;
- 2013 – 1808 patients;
- 2014 – 3224 patients; and
- January to end-September 2015 – 4399 patients
This means that casualty cases have gone up more than 7 times in the last three years – from an average of 68 patients per month in 2012 to 489 patients per month this year.
According to Mahlangu, the increase is because of the following factors:
- Growth of the user population;
- The burden of disease, particularly HIV and Aids; and
- Social determinants of health, particularly motor vehicle accidents, alcohol related injuries and stabbings.
Mahlangu says that the size of the casualty facility is currently not meeting the demand and that a “short stay” area has been established with 12 beds.
She denies that any patients sleep on the floor but I have seen this myself and have photographs to prove it.
She says that the plan is to build two 24-bed wards, and this is at the “planning stage”.
Mahlangu’s response shows the scale of the problem but no urgency to accommodate the huge increase in casualty cases in the near future.
The department is notoriously slow in building anything on time or within budget.
In the short term the department should pay private hospitals to look after overflow patients at Edenvale Hospital, and should speed up the building of new wards which are urgently and desperately needed.
Re-opening the Kempton Park hospital would also assist in providing decent care to people in this rapidly expanding area.