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By Jarryd Westerdale

Digital Journalist

Gauteng Health Department completes 14 000 surgeries in one month

Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko clarified that the 38 000-patient list had been drastically trimmed since the end of April

Gauteng’s Health officials have commended efforts to reduce the list of patients waiting for elective surgeries at state hospitals.

The MEC confirmed that as of the end of April, 38 000 patients were on the surgery waiting list but, added a great push had been made since.

Since responding to questions posed in the Gauteng provincial legislature, the Gauteng Department of Health MEC Nomanto Nkomo-Ralehoko stated 14 000 surgeries had been performed in May.

Making the statement on May 27, that would constitute 518 surgeries per day for those 27 days, including weekends.

ALSO READ: Gauteng Health MEC confirms number of patients awaiting surgery tops 38 000

The department elaborated that they had introduced an electronic dashboard system that tracked the number of surgeries being performed across all state hospitals in the province.

This leaves the current waiting list at 24 000 patients.

“I am immensely proud of the notable achievements we have witnessed in clearing the historic surgical backlog in Gauteng. Last year, on Mandela Day, we embarked on a journey to restore hope and improve access to healthcare for our citizens,” stated MEC Nkomo-Ralehoko.

The success of this project is a clear demonstration of the inherent potential within the healthcare system and that more can be achieved with determination,” she added, emphasising that the normal surgical waiting list is also receiving attention.

Long waits for elective surgeries

Hip replacements and cataract surgeries are among the most common elective procedures

Nine months was the average wait time for a hip replacement at the Charlotte Maxeke and Edenvale facilities, while patients at Chris Hani Baragwanath, Steve Biko, Helen Joseph and Kalafong could wait up to five years.

ALSO READ: Health department scrambles to solve staff and equipment crisis at Tembisa Hospital

For cataracts, wait times for surgery ranged from five months at Charlotte Maxeke to two years at Mamelodi Hospital.

Major reasons cited for the long waiting lists include staff vacancies, limited theatre time, infrastructure problems, and water and power cuts.

Crucially, patients whose conditions deteriorate significantly are moved up the waiting list.

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