DA calls for emergency action to save lives by reopening Charlotte Maxeke hospital

Note to Editors: Please find an English soundbite from Jack Bloom, DA Shadow MEC for Health in Gauteng here

The Speaker of the Gauteng Legislature Ntombi Mekgwe granted my request for an urgent debate on Friday 18 June on the failure to reopen the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital.

In my speech (see attached) I call for the use of emergency powers to resolve the technical issues that are delaying the reopening of the hospital. The replacement fire doors should either be speedily installed, or an exemption obtained so that the hospital can be used while outstanding technical issues are resolved.

I am puzzled as to why the Johannesburg Metro Council is now insisting on measures that it did not insist on before when they supposedly did fire safety checks.

Why were the fire doors not upgraded long ago?

This is what happens with years of poor maintenance and non-compliance with basic safety standards, and this same incompetence is delaying the re-opening of the hospital.

We still do not have a firm date when sections of the hospital will open for patients.

Many cancer patients have had their treatment disrupted, and kidney patients have to travel to Helen Joseph Hospital for dialysis in the evening.

Meanwhile, hospitals around the province are crowded with Charlotte Maxeke patients even as Covid-19 cases flood in.

We cannot fight this epidemic with 1000 beds out of action at a major hospital, including 124 ICU beds.

This year has been proclaimed as the year of Charlotte Maxeke, a truly worthy woman.

It is a disgrace that the hospital that bears her name is abandoned as we speak.

The wards are empty, equipment is lying idle, and the staff are dispersed all over the province.

Doctors are pleading for the hospital to reopen as they worry about the lives of their suffering patients. This provincial government can surely do better than this.

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