11 May 2017
The number of patients waiting for surgery at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital has soared to 2995, and it can take as long as 18 months for some operations to be performed.
This has been revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
The worst backlog is in Orthopaedics where 1047 patients will wait between six and 12 months for a knee or hip operation.
Paediatric surgery is also bad, with 447 children waiting up to six months for operations.
The longest waiting time is for heart surgery where 200 patients can wait up to 18 months for surgery.
The other backlogs are as follows:
Surgical Gastroenterology – 364
Transplant surgery – 350
Urology – 269
Ear, Nose and Throat – 90
Neurosurgery – 74
Plastic surgery – 62
Breast Endocrine Melanoma Sarcoma – 51
Vascular surgery – 36
Trauma surgery – 5
According to Ramokgopa: “The volume of patients is more than what can be managed at CMJAH. Emergency patients and patients who have cancer are prioritized.”
She says that steps to cut the waiting lists include improving theatre efficiency, referral of appropriate operations to other hospitals and intensification of community awareness programmes for transplants.
I am concerned that 549 operations were cancelled last year at the hospital which adds to the backlog, is stressful for patients and indicates poor management.
The backlog is worsening as two years ago there were 2246 patients waiting for surgery.
Better management and extra resources would cut the long surgery lists, and private hospitals should also be contracted to assist, otherwise the backlogs will continue to grow.
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC
082 333 4222