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'Patients are hugely distressed': More than 2 000 operations cancelled at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital


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'Patients are hugely distressed': More than 2 000 operations cancelled at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital

Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital

29th May 2023

By: News24Wire


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A lack of funds, load shedding, no beds for the intensive and high care units, and industrial action are some factors that led to the cancellation of more than 2 000 operations at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in less than 18 months.

Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko revealed the state of cancelled operations at one of the province's largest public hospitals in a written reply to the Gauteng legislature published on Monday.


The Democratic Alliance (DA) had asked how many operations had been deferred or cancelled in 2022 and 2023. Nkomo-Ralehoko's replied that 1 773 operations in 2022 and 445 in 2023 had been affected.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the hospital was just one of the public healthcare facilities with a long waiting list for surgeries. At the time, the health department said 3 132 patients were waiting for surgeries at the hospital.


Nkomo-Ralehoko said 1.3% of operations were cancelled or deferred due to factors that could have been avoided with better management. 

She added: "Some of the reasons that led to the cancellation of the operations are time factor, patient's condition, patient ate before the operation, equipment, a patient died, and low medical air pressure."

When asked what steps were taken to ensure that few operations were cancelled or deferred, she said part of remedial action was reinforcing the correct procedures through workshops, on-the-spot teaching, and various clinical forums.

"There is also the need to strengthen the supply chain management system, both in-house and at the central level, to ensure that it gives dependable support to clinical and other services at an operational level.

"Some of the processes have to be decentralised to cut down on long lead times."

Gauteng DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom said he had received many complaints about surgeries being cancelled because there were either no beds in the intensive care units, or equipment wasn't working, or there was no clean linen.

"Patients are hugely distressed when operations are cancelled for avoidable reasons. It adds to the more than 2 500 patients on the surgery list at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, some of whom have been waiting for years. Imagine suffering with a hip problem for two years, but your operation is cancelled at the last moment," he said.

Bloom said he was disappointed that more ICU beds were not planned, as this was a major cause of long waiting lists for the more complicated operations.

"More needs to be done to ensure that surgery at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital runs smoothly with minimal disruptions."


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