Staff and patients continue to struggle with parking at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital despite promises that extra bays would be made available by November last year.
This is what I found when I visited the hospital yesterday (Monday 23 January) after receiving complaints about the parking.
Doctors and nurses have to come in super early to get the few open bays in the hospital basement, so most of them park far away at great inconvenience.
It’s even worse for patients who are sickly and have to walk long distances to get into the hospital. I gave a lift to 70-year-old Salim Abraham (not his real name) who had to park more than a kilometre away and uses a walking stick. He drove from Eldorado Park to drop his wife off at the diabetes clinic.
Roads around the hospital are congested with vehicles and double parking (see photo here).
I was disgusted that the accessible parking at the province-owned Emoyeni Conference Centre is still empty when this could easily have been made available (see photo of empty bays here).
The best solution would be to use the empty parking areas above where the fire started. I saw hundreds of bays that should already be in use as a new ramp has been built that gives access to them (see photo here).
It seems there is gross incompetence in doing the speedy repair that would safely open up many of the underground bays.
Previously the hospital had 1700 on-site parking bays, but now it only has 229 bays in the hospital and 400 nearby. This means there is a shortage of more than 1000 parking bays, causing misery as staff and patients hunt for parking every day.
I will continue to pressure the Gauteng Health Department to use the Emoyeni parking and to open up more parking in the hospital as soon as possible.