Six hundred disabled people are waiting for wheelchairs at Gauteng hospitals, mostly because of delayed wheelchair deliveries.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo Ralehoko in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
The largest shortage is at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital where there are 253 patients on the waiting list for wheelchairs. Reasons given are as follows:
• Delays in ordering processes, delayed deliveries of wheelchairs by the supplier.
• Insufficient storage for bulk wheelchairs.
• The current storeroom was flooded.
Wheelchairs are due to arrive at this hospital by 30 June this year. Meanwhile, they intend to improve the processing of orders, placing orders more frequently for smaller quantities to mitigate for lack of storage, and they will motivate a container to store wheelchairs in bulk.
Other hospitals where wheelchair deliveries have been delayed include the following:
• Tambo Memorial Hospital – 44 patients waiting for wheelchairs
• Tembisa Hospital – 11 patients waiting for wheelchairs
• Edenvale Hospital – 5 patients waiting for wheelchairs
The City of Johannesburg Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities have 105 patients waiting for wheelchairs, while Ekurhuleni PHC facilities and West Rand PHC facilities have 98 and 84 patients on their waiting lists respectively.
Therapists at the PHC facilities are now calling all patients on the waiting lists to receive their wheelchairs.
It is distressing that so many disabled people have to wait for wheelchairs to restore their mobility.
Imagine the suffering and indignity of vulnerable people who needlessly wait long periods for wheelchairs.
The supply management of wheelchairs needs to be tightened up as there is a sufficient budget to cover the assessed need for wheelchairs.