4 out of 8 MRI machines broken in Gauteng state hospitals
1 September 2019
Four of the eight Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machines in Gauteng public hospitals are broken, leading to waiting times as long as 9 months for the diagnosis of hundreds of patients.
This is revealed in a written reply by Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
The Chris Hani Baragwanath and George Mukhari hospitals each have two MRI machines, but can only rely on one machine as the other ones are broken.
The MRI machine at the Helen Joseph Hospital has been broken since March this year, and Steve Biko’s MRI machine broke down a month ago.
Kalafong hospital has a functioning MRI machine, and the sole MRI at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital is working but is very old and needs to be replaced urgently.
The worst situation is at Chris Hani Baragwanath where 607 patients are waiting 9 months for a MRI scan.
The situation at other hospitals is as follows:
- Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg - 761 patients waiting for 7 months;
- George Mukhari - 298 adult patients and 120 children waiting for 2 to 3 months;
- Helen Joseph - current waiting time not given for 120 patients;
- Kalafong Hospital - 40-50 patients wait between 5 days and two weeks; and
- Steve Biko - 200 patients wait from 2 to 4 months.
MRI scans are a key diagnostic tool in modern medicine, but broken machines are causing extra suffering and life-threatening delays especially for cancer patients.
Speedy repairs and purchase of new equipment is vital for the effective functioning of our hospitals.
Frequently broken machines are another area of weakness that raises questions about government’s ability to implement its ambitious NHI plans.
Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 1 September 2019