Seven hundred and eighty -five ops cancelled at Charlotte Maxeke hospital as 2677 patients wait for surgery

Over 780 operations were cancelled at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital last year, worsening the long waiting lists for surgery which has grown to 2677 patients.

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

Paediatric surgery was the most affected, with 610 cancelled operations. The other cancellations were as follows:

• 80 Cardiothoracic ops cancelled
• 40 Gastrointestinal ops cancelled
• 25 Breast clinic, Endocrine and Soft Tissue ops cancelled
• 20 Neurosurgery ops cancelled
• 10 Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) ops cancelled

The largest waiting list is for Orthopaedics, with 833 patients who could wait up to two years for surgery.

Paediatric surgery has 453 child patients who will wait between 6 months and two years.

There are 200 cataract patients who will wait between 6 and 8 months for surgery, 137 neurosurgery patients will wait for six months, and 109 urology patients will wait between 4 and 6 months.

I think these figures underestimate the true situation as it does not include the long waiting periods for many patients to be diagnosed by a specialist before they are placed on the waiting lists for surgery.

Insufficient theatre time and the shortage of ICU beds are the major reasons for the cancellation of operations.

Disruption from Covid-19 and the partial closure of the hospital due to the fire in April last year are other factors.

It’s particularly upsetting that many children suffer from the surgery delays.

This highlights the need to fully re-open the hospital as soon as possible, and to expand the operating theatre and ICU capacity in order to drastically cut the surgery waiting lists.