Long waiting times at Germiston Hospital

By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:

The biggest problem at the Bertha Gxowa Hospital in Germiston is a long waiting time at the Outpatients department where patients will wait on average between three and four hours.

I discovered this on my visit to the hospital yesterday (Wednesday, 6 January) after I received a complaint from a patient.

There was a particular problem on the first two days of the week when the hospital opened for the New Year as there were only two doctors at the Outpatients instead of the seven that are needed.

Thirty patients who were not seen on the Monday had to come back the next day, and another 30 patients on the Tuesday had to come back on the Wednesday.

I was told that the staff shortage was because some doctors were still on leave and two new doctors were doing induction training.

The good news is that all doctor posts are now filled at the outpatients although there is still a shortage of nurses.

Another cause of delay is the paper filing system as files often get lost or take some time to retrieve.

I was disappointed that there has been slow progress towards an electronic system to replace the troublesome paper files for patients. This is a modern hospital that should be run on a modern system.

Waiting times should improve by April this year as all chronic patients will have been given booked appointment times by then.

I was impressed by the cleanliness and amenities of this hospital which was opened four years ago.

Acting CEO Dr Nokwethemba Mtshali-Hadebe has plans to use the facilities to full capacity as only four of the ten ICU beds and only two of the four operating theatres are currently used.

This will be possible when more specialist staff are hired.

I hope that the promised improvements will be evident on my next visit to this hospital.