No date has been given for the re-opening of the 1000-bed Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital (CMJH) which was damaged by fire on 16 April.
This is despite the assurance more than two weeks ago that sections of the hospital were cleared for opening as they were structurally sound.
Meanwhile, patients are suffering as they have transport problems to get to other health facilities for medicines or consultations.
The long waiting lists for ordinary surgery at CMJH are getting dramatically worse. This includes knee and hip surgery, and hundreds of patients waiting for cataract surgery to restore their sight.
Cancer patients have been redirected to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital for chemotherapy and to the Steve Biko Hospital for radiation treatment. This is not satisfactory as there are backlogs and delays being experienced. And sometimes the diagnosis has to be redone from scratch.
At a recent meeting of the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee the CMJH CEO Gladys Bogoshi could not give a date for reopening as she said that they were awaiting a fire safety certificate from the Johannesburg City Council.
We need to know what is holding up the safe re-opening of sections of the hospital which is urgently needed as the upsurge in Covid-19 cases is putting strain on all hospitals in Gauteng.
Lives are at risk if this hospital does not open soon, particularly the cancer section and the ICU unit for serious Covid-19 patients.
We can get through this health crisis with clear communication and effective use of all available resources.