R500 million Gauteng hospital has only six Covid patients

Issued by Jack Bloom MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
22 Jul 2021 in Press Statements

The Gauteng Health Department used R500 million of Covid-19 funds to refurbish the Anglo Ashanti hospital in the Far West Rand, but it currently has only six Covid patients receiving low-level care.

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

Premier David Makhura opened this 181-bed hospital with great fanfare on 14 May, but according to Mokgethi only 25 Covid-19 patients have been treated so far in total. These patients receive “step down services”, and need to be transferred to other West Rand hospitals if they need specialist treatment.

The tragedy is that the expensive refurbishment of this hospital, which was donated by the AngloGold Ashanti mining company, was to provide ICU beds, but they cannot be used as they do not have equipment. None of the beds have oxygen provision for patients, which is the main thing that saves lives in this terrible epidemic.

There are 32 staff running this hospital and 24 more staff are being recruited to start on 1 August.

It is scandalous that so much money has been spent on this hospital which is far from major population centres and currently has 175 empty beds and vastly more staff than patients.

Meanwhile, other public hospitals are straining to cope with the flood of Covid-19 patients and many die because of a dire shortage of ICU beds.

It would have been far better to have spent the R500 million on extra beds and staff at other hospitals, rather than this white elephant hospital.

The Special Investigating Unit (SIU) is investigating the spending of funds on the hospital, which confirms my suspicion that corruption is involved in this appalling waste of money.

The DA will push for accountability in this matter and a better use of funds to save lives of hospital patients in Gauteng.

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