861 urology patients at Bara Hospital wait up to three years for surgery

861 urology patients are on the waiting list for surgery at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (CHBH), some of whom will have to wait as long as three years.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

There are 10 patients who will wait between two and six weeks for surgery for cancer of the testes, kidney, or bladder, but the worst wait is for 250 patients with benign prostate cancer and 120 patients with urethral stricture (narrowing) who will wait between two and three years.

Other waiting times are as follows:

  • 6 months for 60 malignant prostate cancer patients
  • 2 years for 171 adult patients with undescended testes
  • 1 to 2 years for 150 patients with hydrocele (swelling in the testicle)
  • 6 to 12 months for 100 patients with incontinence

These are very long times to wait for painful conditions, and lives are at risk in the case of cancer delays.

According to Mokgethi, reasons for the long waiting times include the following:

  • many referrals from clinics are un-booked and walk-ins are common.
  • only one of the two urology operating theatres is currently used as the other one is dedicated to Covid-19 cases.
  • cable theft and electricity disruptions/water disruptions/linen shortages all continue to slow services.
  • extra patients from the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital

This very busy urology department sees more than 200 patients a day and needs two more nurses to provide a proper service to them.

It would help if extra capacity was built up at other hospitals to treat urology patients at an earlier stage and only refer the serious cases to CHBH.

Reliable electricity supply and clean linen would also cut down on the serious problem of cancelled operations.