Hundreds of operations have been cancelled at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital due to a shortage of clean laundry for the past three weeks.
The shortage appears to be caused by broken machinery at the hospital’s in-house laundry in yet another instance of poor maintenance causing a disruption in health services.
Meanwhile, doctors are frustrated that surgery has to be cancelled even though there are long waiting lists.
In the case of hip and knee surgery, many patients have waited years for these operations only to be bitterly disappointed when they are cancelled.
Theatre patients also freeze in the cold weather because there are no blankets.
Laundry shortages are common in Gauteng public hospitals because they have to use the five provincial-owned laundries which are notoriously inefficient.
The laundry machines are poorly maintained and often break down.
I have often questioned the Gauteng Health Department as to why they continue to run expensive and unreliable laundries when it is not their core business.
Hospital CEOs should be able to use private laundries otherwise laundry disasters will continue to cause patients to suffer.
It is terribly disappointing that this hospital has to battle with so many avoidable problems, including food shortages earlier this year.
When will we see the effective leadership to fix our public hospitals instead of desperate open letters from medical staff who see their patients die needlessly?