The casualty cases at Edenvale Hospital in Gauteng is so devastating that some patients were forced to sleep on the floor in order to get treatment, said DA Gauteng Health Spokesperson Jack Bloom.
Exploding casualty figures
"According to information at our disposal, there are no patients sleeping on the floor," spokesperson Steve Mabona for the Gauteng department of health told Health24. However, Bloom supplied Health24 with two images taken early in October of this shocking condition, pointing out that he is in possession of several more pictures.
Referring to the images, Mabona said this situation has been resolved. "It is no longer the case. We tried to assist people instead of turning them away and we have managed to find them beds."
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MEC Qedani Mahlangu Mahlangu indicated in a written response to Bloom in the Gauteng Legislature that patient casualty figures have increased by over 3,500 from 2012 to September this year.
She said in 2012 the ward saw 820 patients. This grew to 1,808 patients in 2013, 3,224 patients in 2014, and 4,399 patients from January to September 2015.
"This means that casualty cases have gone up more than 7 times in the last three years – from an average of 68 patients per month in 2012 to 489 patients per month this year," Bloom said.
Mahlangu attributed the growing number of casualty cases at Edenvale Hospital to the growth of the user population, the burden of disease, particularly HIV and Aids, and social determinants of health, particularly motor vehicle accidents, alcohol related injuries and stabbings.
Stemming the tide
Mabona told Health24 the department is working hard to ease patient overflows at Edenvale Hospital.
"We are currently conducting a cost benefit analysis on whether to rebuild or refurbish Kyalami Hospital in Kempton Park. The opening of this hospital would ease patient overflows on the Edenvale Hospital."
In the meantime, Mabona said a short stay area has been established with 12 beds in place. "This will be augmented by the construction of two 24 bedded wards, which is still at planning phase."
But Bloom is not optimistic about these plans. "The provincial government typically takes twice as long and twice the budget to build a hospital as in the case of the Jabulani and New Natalspruit hospitals, which took 8 years to build. They should both have been done within 3 to 4 years."
In the short term, he suggested that the department pay private hospitals to help deal with the overflow of patients, while speeding up the building of new wards.
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