Pretoria – Management at Steve Biko Academic Hospital has finally begun the process of replacing the lifts at the facility which have been a headache for staff and patients for many years.
Hospital chief executive Dr Mathabo Mathebula said the lifts furore had been stabilised following the last breakdown and that the process of replacing them as a permanent solution was under way.
Just last month, complaints were received from members of the public that only one of the lifts was working at the hospital.
For its part, the hospital previously admitted that seven of the lifts along the public routes were down because they were old and overused and even at times vandalised.
It assured however that it wasn’t one lift working as claimed by members of the public, but that they had ensured at least 14 to 15 lifts were working.
Jack Bloom, DA provincial spokesperson for health said the issue of lifts breaking down was very problematic for all who were in dire need of the hospital’s services.
Bloom said the worst-case scenario when lifts broke down was the increased possibility of operations being cancelled if patients could not be transported to the ICU afterwards
He said the frequent breakdowns represented a clear failure of preventive maintenance by the hospital despite promises that they would never happen again.
“This is not an old hospital so lifts should not be failing at all. I think contracts with decent firms are essential so that the job preventive maintenance is done properly.”
Mathebula however assured that the lifts had not given them problems since they were fixed following the last fault.
“The ultimate is them being replaced and the Department of Infrastructure Development is busy with that. The stability is such that it is unlikely that we will go through the same experience prior to their replacement.”
Bloom, however, said there had been many promises in the past to ensure functioning lifts and the problems experienced would not continue unless they had proper preventive maintenance in place.
“The old lifts could have lasted far longer had this been done. I hope the new lifts are from a reputable company with a maintenance plan,” he added.