“Gauteng hospital staff shortages endanger lives as Covid cases surge”

Health Politics

Tebogo Msimanga |

Democratic Alliance (DA) Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health Jack Bloom on Monday reiterated that as Covid-19 cases rise rapidly, Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi claims that hospitals are “still able to cope with the pressure at this stage”.

Bloom said this is misleading as many of the newly built beds cannot be used because there is no staff for them. “The reported deployment of medical staff from the SA National Defence Force also shows up the lack of preparedness in Gauteng. West Rand hospitals are already full, but there are no patients at the R500 million Anglo Ashanti Hospital which was recently refurbished with great fanfare but has no staff.”

Bloom added that only 100 of the newly-built 500 beds at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital are currently being used because of a lack of staff as well.

Meanwhile, the continued closure of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH) is crowding other hospitals with patients, which increases the risk of Covid infection in casualty units.

“At the Helen Joseph Hospital casualty unit some Covid patients sit two days on a chair waiting for a bed to be admitted.”

He further said the 120 ICU beds at CMJH are desperately needed as ambulances struggle to find ICU beds for seriously ill patients. “Emergency powers should be used to reopen the safe parts of the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, and nurses from agencies used to ensure that all available beds in the province are properly staffed.”

Bloom added that this will save lives as Gauteng’s health system faces the “tsunami” of new cases.

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