Charlotte Maxeke Hospital repairs hampered by ‘out of control’ crime

Charlotte Maxeke Hospital repairs hampered by 'out of control' crime

Minister of health Joe Phaahla, speaking at a briefing on the repair project at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, said progress is being hampered by crime and vandalism. Despite strategies to accelerate the repairs to and refurbishing of Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, the process is still being hampered by crime.

Speaking at a media briefing on the status of the project to get the hospital up and running again, health minister Joe Phaahla said while he was generally pleased with the progress made, the crime and destruction happening at the hospital was “an indictment on society”.

“Have we come to a point where hospitals must look like army barracks? That is not desirable, nor is it affordable. We need to maintain a balance between protecting staff and patients while still functioning properly. We cannot lose the context of what a hospital is,” Phaahla said.

He said after the fire that led to the closure of the hospital in April last year, there had been much unhappiness and confusion on the way forward.

“Last month I met with the premier [David Makhura] and it was decided that progress was unacceptably slow. We agreed that the national department would step in and work directly with Gauteng and all responsibility would be taken away from the Gauteng department of infrastructure and development and given to national and Gauteng health.”

The project was officially handed over on March 4 and the Development Bank of Southern Africa was appointed as the implementing agent. Other donor agencies also came forward, with the Solidarity Fund and Gift of the Givers taking over parts of the upgrade work.

Phaahla said the result was that ongoing work at the casualty and emergency department had speeded up, deep cleaning had been done and while some technical equipment and fittings were outstanding, this section of the hospital would be reopened in April. The situation is you can put a new flush mechanism in a toilet today and tomorrow it is gone “It has been disheartening to note that between the time that patients were evacuated and the time when contractors were brought in to start working, a number of installations like railings were all ripped out for scrap metal. The CAT scan machine that is used in cases of accident and trauma where there are [suspected] head and spine injuries … has been vandalised. The central processing unit was ripped out and parts from inside […]

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