Updated 20 November 2015

Patients in Mpumalanga are going home with broken bones

A shortage of orthopaedic surgeons in hospitals across Mpumalanga is so devastating that some patients are sent home with broken bones.

A total of 647 patients admitted in hospitals across Mpumalanga are awaiting surgery. But this could take a couple of months because of a severe shortage of orthopaedic surgeons, according to the Democratic Alliance (DA) in the province.

Read: Mpumalanga health needs a shot in the arm

"The lack of orthopaedic surgeons and the long waiting lists result in hospitals having to send some of their patients home with broken bones even though they need surgery," said DA MPL and spokesperson on health and social development Jane Sithole.

"Currently, there are over 338 patients sitting at home waiting for the hospital to put an end to their agony by repairing their broken bones. The longer they wait, the more they are likely to develop disabilities due to their bones growing back incorrectly."

According to Health MEC Gillion Mashego, the waiting periods of patients differ based on which district the patient resides in. The breakdown is as follows:

- at least 8 weeks in the Ehlanzeni District municipality
- at least 14 weeks in the Gert Sibande District municipality  
- at least 24 weeks in the Nkangala District municipality

"It is becoming too clear that the Department of Health is burdened with poor leadership and a lack of political will to see the people receive adequate quality healthcare," said Sithole.

She pointed out that the department underspent its budget on its programme for Tertiary Hospitals by R11.5 million. 16 medical specialists could have been employed, said  Sithole.

"MEC Mashego’s inability to manage his department’s finances is bringing the thousands of people who are dependent on government for healthcare down on their knees. This can no longer continue."

The DA reiterated its call for MEC Mashego to step down.

Also read:

How to fix Mpumalanga's broken health system

KwaMhlanga is not a 'horror hospital'

Surgeon walks out on patient, not once but twice


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