The MEC for Health in the province, Dr Phophi Ramathuba, has officiated the decanting of patients from Kgapane Hospital to Modjadjiskloof Health Centre as part of a programme to ensure that the hospital functions efficiently by offloading some patients at the Modjadjiskloof Health Centre where there are doctors on fulltime duty.

The intervention came after pensioners, who had not been assisted in any way, were left sleeping in wheelchairs in the corridors of Kgapane Hospital. Pictures of the incident circulated on social media causing a scandal.

‘Only one hospital’

“Greater Letaba Municipality is a vast area and it has only one hospital. Whether a person is from Sekgosese, Modjadji or Ramoroka – all of them were referred to Kgapane Hospital. That resulted in overcrowding and the inefficient running of the hospital,” said Department of Health spokesperson, Neil Shikwambane.

Meanwhile, the department has also appointed two orthopaedic specialists to Letaba Hospital and Pietersburg Provincial Hospital where there was a serious shortage of orthopaedic specialists and the department was reliant on the services of specialists from other provinces.

“These are situational kinds of interventions. It’s not one-size-fits-all. It depends on which hospitals need what kind of assistance. In Mopani we didn’t have orthopaedic specialists and patients would be referred to Polokwane. And you would also find that other districts were referring their patients there, and that’s why some patients would be in hospital for two months waiting for an operation. We are optimistic that our turnaround strategy will be successful,” explained Shikwambane.

Dr Ramathuba recently welcomed a new Head of Emergency Medical Services in the province.

An edited version of this story was published by Health24.