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Gauteng health crisis: MEC reveals plan of action

The dept has allocated funds to be injected into a project to ensure that patients receive medical treatment.

The Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital where a patient had been asked to return in seven years for a hip replacement procedure. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Health Department says it's allocated funds that will be injected into a project to make sure that patients receive medical treatment.

Earlier this week, Eyewitness News revealed a patient had been asked to return to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in seven years for a hip replacement procedure.

A letter from the hospital which was given to Aubrey Moerane states that he must return in November 2021.

The letter also says the facility, which is the largest care facility in Africa, has a joint replacement waiting list of about 1,200 people.

MEC Qedani Mahlangu says her department has approached the private health sector for help and has ordered hospital staff to contact patients as soon as possible.

She's admitted that her department is facing a crisis as there were not enough human resources and machinery to deal with the backlog at care facilities across the province.

Mahlangu says officials are working on a two-year program in which patients on waiting lists will be contacted and assisted.

The MEC says in the next few weeks the new program will be revealed.

"I know that there's a bit of money we are looking into in the coming days, to spare in kick starting the program."

Mahlangu has apologised to all patients who have been turned away at hospitals and told to return after long periods of time.

"We should not allow it to continue. People have gone through pain sufficiently enough and we can only say we apologise and commit to improving the situation for the better."

Last week Gauteng Finance MEC Barbara Creecy announced that the Health Department would be allocated a budget of more than R34 billion from an overall budget of R95 billion.

Meanwhile, the Zurich Insurance Group has approached Eyewitness News , offering to cover all Moerane's medical expenses.

The company's Nandi Ngube-Ntombi says, "The fact that he has to wait seven years to receive a hip is just unheard of. We just thought we had to do something as part of our corporate responsibility, we're invested in our communities and we're invested in our people."

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