The Gauteng Health ministry has confirmed that non-emergency surgery for some patients had to be rescheduled at Charlotte Maxeke hospital in Johannesburg due to a shortage of medical supplies.
This was in response to a statement from the Democratic Alliance’s spokesperson on health, Jack Bloom, who said about 20 patients had been told that their operations could not go ahead. Kwara Kekana, spokesperson for the province’s health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku, said eight patients were affected by the issue. The patients were all scheduled for arthroplasty.
“There has been a problem for some weeks with procurement at this hospital,” Bloom said in his statement.
Specifically, equipment such as suction catheters, oropharyngeal airways, laryngeal masks, arterial line transducer, suture dressings and the correct size gloves were lacking at the hospital. Bloom said medical staff often have to borrow such equipment from other hospitals and because of this, some elective surgery was able to go ahead as supplies were taken from Helen Joseph Hospital.
“It is shameful that doctors at a major hospital cannot do their jobs because basic medical supplies are short, with patients suffering as a result,” Bloom said, adding that the National Health Insurance would not work if “simply things” could not be fixed in public hospitals.
Kekana said contingencies had been put in place.
“The hospital though intervened to arrest some of the challenges by borrowing stock from sister facilities and collecting stock from suppliers who had stock but could not make immediate deliveries,” Kekana said.
She added: “A review of current quantities of critical stock items being ordered and a framework of orders will be developed from October until March 2020.
“This practice will continue into the new financial year and any risks or challenges identified till March 2020 will be mitigated to ensure continuous improvement.”
The review, Kekana said, would include new processes to ensure timeous delivery of medical supplied.
“Relevant clinicians were engaged and all have agreed to improve communication and work on implementing framework orders in this financial year to mitigate all risks an continuous improvement,” Kekana said.