Four of 11 theatres operational at Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Newsline

Pretoria – The Steve Biko Academic Hospital has been hit by another setback, with four of 11 theatres operational.

This has resulted in a backlog of cardiac patients in need of surgery, with no clear indication of when the situation will be addressed.

Insiders said the waiting time for something as simple as an angiogram procedure now could take up to three weeks. The procedure is an X-ray procedure used for evaluating blockages in the arterial system.

It was claimed hospital staff, including doctors, and patients were frustrated by the delays in doing essential heart surgery as patients waited for weeks in the cardiac wards for operations.

Hospital chief executive Dr Mathabo Mathapelo said some theatres were not operational because air-conditioners had not been working for about a month.

She indicated while cardiac surgeries had been delayed, the hospital had conducted some crucial surgeries, especially life-threatening procedures.

In September, several lifts at the hospital were not working, which left patients frustrated.

Management said replacement of the lifts was under way. The hospital said some lifts were not functioning because they were old, overused and at times vandalised.

DA spokesperson for health Jack Bloom said: “Broken machinery is a common problem in state hospitals in Gauteng because of poor maintenance.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has led to massive surgery backlogs, but these can only be cut if machinery is well maintained and functional.”

Pretoria News