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Updated 02 June 2014

Not enough doctors at Baragwanath hospital puts lives at risk

Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu admitted late in May that biggest hospital in the southern Hemisphere, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, is short staffed.

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Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu on Friday admitted the biggest hospital in the southern Hemisphere, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, is short staffed.

"There are not enough doctors and nurses," she told reporters at the hospital.

"In the next five years, I intend to address the shortages of nurses and doctors here at Baragwanath Hospital."

Read: shortage of equipment makes work at Baragwanath a nightmare

If staff at all hospitals worked together and were at their work stations when patients walked in, improvements would be evident.

"My commitment to them, even to the hospitals I have not visited, is that... if we all adhere to our time commitments the problems will be resolved over a period of time," said Mahlangu.

She visited the hospital for a site inspection. She spent most of the morning walking about and familiarising herself with the hospital's workings. She talked to nurses in some of the wards.

Mahlangu said the problems she had been told of in the neonatal, paediatric, and maternity wards were alarming. The shortage of doctors and lack of equipment had to be addressed urgently.

Read: workers warned of generator fail at Baragwanath

"I will go back to the office and see what we can do. I'm working with the private sector to assist and they were just waiting for me to complete the visit to see what is needed," she said.

Mahlangu admitted the problems would not be fixed overnight, but called on all in the health sector to work together for better service.

She applauded doctors who had stayed in the public sector.

"I am highly impressed and humbled by the commitment of doctors who have stayed in the public sector. We need to applaud them for the work they do in difficult situations," Mahlangu said.

She added that her office would also look into the problems experienced at the newly opened Jabulani Hospital. She said the hospital was supposed to alleviate the backlog at Baragwanath, which was not happening.

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