Patients are suffering from late diagnosis at the Steve Biko Hospital because the MRI machine has been broken since February this year.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
According to the MEC, the breakdown is due to the theft of the earth cable, and “there is a severe impact on patient care, we however make use of the MRI at Kalafong hospital to assist.”
It is disgraceful that this major hospital does not have a functioning MRI. Ferrying patients to Kalafong is a poor substitute for an in-house MRI for speedy diagnosis, especially in cancer cases.
The hospital’s MRI is 17 years old and has broken down repeatedly in recent years. It should have been replaced long ago as it is no longer on a service plan.
Other broken equipment at the hospital includes a semi-functional Cathlab, and a cracked single head Gamma camera.
Unfortunately, no date has been given for the replacement MRI.
This highlights the lack of pre-planning to replace ageing machinery.
Hospital CEOs should be empowered to make decisions, purchase and ensure maintenance of equipment at their facilities, instead of having to wait a long time for the provincial departments to respond. This will go a long way in avoiding unnecessary delays in the provision of quality healthcare.