Early morning queues at Steve Biko hospital
20 June 2019
Long queues of patients wait outside the Steve Biko Hospital in Pretoria from very early in the morning to ensure they will see a doctor or get their medicines.
I visited the hospital this morning at 4 am with my colleague Alan Fuchs MPL to assess this situation and what can be done to fix it.
We spoke to patients who told us that they needed to be early otherwise they would not be able to see a doctor and would have to come back the next day.
In one case an elderly man had been there from 12 pm the previous day! Others had arrived from 8pm in the evening.
People park outside in the street and can only enter the parking lot at 4 am. The parking lot fills up quickly and is totally inadequate.
I counted about 300 people when the doors to the hospital were opened at 6 am.
Other problems include poor security and allegations of payment to jump the queue.
The hospital’s official figure for average time of entry every morning is 3.10 am at the main entrance.
Official business hours are 07h00 till 16h00 for Pharmacy and Outpatient services.
I really felt sorry for sick and elderly people waiting long hours in the bitter cold.
The hospital is grossly overloaded with patients and needs more resources and better organization to cut down the queues and waiting times.
It would also help to upgrade other hospitals and clinics to take the strain off Steve Biko Hospital.
Security should be upgraded and the parking lot expanded as soon as possible.
Patients should be able to pick up chronic medicine from facilities closer to where they live.
I will be asking questions in the Gauteng Legislature on this matter and will put pressure on the new Health MEC Bandile Masuku to alleviate this unacceptable situation for many thousands of sick people.
Issued by Jack Bloom, DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 20 June 2019