Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku is reported today (see https://ewn.co.za/) as saying he would be working with the Infrastructure Development Department to make sure that all hospitals complied with safety standards by the end of next year.
He was reacting to the experience of Ms Yolisa Jiyane, a pregnant woman who was trapped inside a toilet at the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital in Vosloorus for more than an hour while she was in labour.
The reality, however, is that Gauteng public hospitals will not be compliant with safety legislation for many years as there is insufficient money and a lack of capacity to do quality building work on time and within budget.
This is illustrated by Thelle Mogoerane Hospital, which opened five years ago after taking 8 years to build at more than double the original budget. The hospital should be safety compliant but according to a recent report by the Department to the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee an estimate to fix it is not yet available as they are “investigating risks and root causes of structural cracks in the building.”
The total amount to ensure all 32 hospitals are compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety Act is estimated at about R6 billion. The Department has requested priority funding of R1.7 billion for nine hospitals next year, but it is unlikely they will get this from the National Treasury.
It is unfortunate that patients are suffering from many years of neglect and mismanagement that needs to be reversed as soon as possible