SA hospitals a disaster

Cape Town – The DA wants the SA Human Rights Commission
(SAHRC) to mount an urgent investigation into equipment
shortages at certain state hospitals.
These were "putting the lives of patients at serious risk",
Democratic Alliance MP Patricia Kopane said in a statement
on Friday.
The hospitals were in the Eastern Cape, Limpopo and
Gauteng.
"I will today be writing to the HRC to request an urgent
investigation into the impact of hospital equipment shortages
on the rights of patients to have access to health care — as
enshrined in Section 27 of the Constitution."
Kopane said the shortages appeared to be "largely
attributable to ignored requisition orders by provincial health
departments, and the failure of these departments to pay
service providers for the maintenance of critical equipment".
On Friday, she visited the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg
Academic Hospital with Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom.
"We assessed the conditions faced by patients and staff, and
discovered that patients in Gauteng are being treated in
hospitals that face similar equipment shortages to those in
the Eastern Cape and Limpopo."
Among other things, they had found:
– materials to make protective equipment used during
radiation treatments had been exhausted, endangering the
patients being treated;
– two brachytherapy machines, used to treat cervical cancer,
were not functioning because the radiation source had run
out. A total of 159 patients were on the waiting list to be
treated for cervical cancer; and
– two Cobalt-60 units, used to treat Kaposi’s sarcoma, were
also offline because they lacked a radiation source.
"The disrepair means that patients who have already been
diagnosed with cancer cannot be treated effectively and
safely."
Shortages at other Gauteng hospitals included:
– the Steve Biko Academic Hospital’s oncology department
faced similar problems to the oncology unit at Charlotte
Maxeke Academic Hospital; and
– the Natalspruit Hospital’s only CAT scanner had been out of
order since September last year.
"It is clear that the lack of basic resources in our hospitals has
reached critical levels," Kopane said.

Source:m.news24.com/news24/SouthAfrica/Politics/SAHRC-must-probe-hospitals-DA-20120727

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