3 138 Charlotte Maxeke patients wait for surgery after fire – Jack Bloom

DA MPL says worst waiting period is for orthopaedic surgery where patients can wait two years

3138 Joburg Hospital patients wait for surgery after fire

26 August 2021

More than 3000 patients are suffering on long waiting lists for surgery at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH) due largely to the fire at the hospital and the pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mokgethi, there are 3138 patients currently waiting for surgery, with the largest backlogs as follows:

Orthopaedic surgery - 1351 patients

Gastrointestinal surgery - 658 patients

Paediatric surgery - 509 patients

Organ transplants - 182 patients

Neurosurgery - 137 patients

Urology - 109 patients

Mokgethi says that elective surgery at the hospital resumed in the first week of August, with priority given to the urgent cases.

Some of the surgical cases are done at other hospitals including Chris Hani Baragwanath, Helen Joseph and Nelson Mandela Childrens Hospital.

The impact of surgery delays is given as “progression of the disease, patients being discouraged and some refusing to come back for surgery.” Pain levels increase as well, and in the case of heart patients delays can complicate surgery and make it more risky.

The worst waiting period is for orthopaedic surgery where patients can wait two years for a hip or knee operation.

The waiting lists for child surgery are particularly distressing, from 6 months to two years. The solution here is better use of the Nelson Mandela Childrens Hospital to cut the paediatric surgery backlogs.

The DA will continue to push for the full reopening of CMJH as well as contracts with private hospitals to treat public patients in order to alleviate the suffering of patients on long waiting lists.

Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health, 29 August 2021