Health care in Gauteng is in demand, Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said.
"People from North West, Free State and Mpumalanga come here in buses referred to Bara," she said during a visit to the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital, south of Johannesburg. We see more than 90 mothers-to-be every day... there is a need to expand the hospital's maternity unit."
She denied that Gauteng's health service faced a crisis.
"Long queues do not mean crisis... we have improved. People we interviewed are happier with the service," she said flanked by Gauteng health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe.
Cancer patients turned away
Mokonyane said all contractors rendering services to the health department would be paid by June.
"We will pay by June. Some contracts will be terminated, others reviewed for the need to diversify."
The Gauteng health department had faced large accruals and other financial issues.
Mekgwe said her department was busy repairing a radiation machine at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital.
It was reported this week that cancer patients were being turned away from the hospital because a radiation machine had not been repaired over a non-payment dispute.
TB patients encouraged to finish treatment
Mokonyane started her tour to assess healthcare services at the Kliptown clinic in Eldorado Park, where residents told her they wanted a new building and more nurses. A woman in the paediatric section asked the premier to increase the number of nurses because they were waiting too long to be seen.
"This clinic has 19 nurses. It is well staffed. We will try to intervene," Mokonyane said.
The premier found three primary school children at the clinic who were not accompanied by adults. She called the mother of one of the boys on the phone. She thought her child was at school. The premier asked the three boys to go home and return with their parents or another adult as they were too young to consent to treatment.
She then visited tuberculosis patients at their homes to encourage them to complete their treatment.
A need to look into waiting time
She was also taken to a house where a disabled child had been left on her own. The child's aunt told the premier her sister left the child alone every day. The boy, aged nine, had not eaten for the past three days, she said.
The premier ordered that the child be taken to hospital for medical attention. His mother could not be reached by phone.
After the tour, Mokonyane said there was a need to look into waiting times.
"Both at Bara and Kliptown, the concern are about waiting for a long time."
She said the health department should look into patients receiving their medicine at clinics, rather than at hospitals.
(Sapa, March 2012)
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