The Free State Health Department hopes boosting orthopaedic capacity at district hospitals will help eradicate long waiting times for patients. At the moment, the Pelonomi Regional Hospital in Bloemfontein, is under severe strain due to the number of referrals.

Department spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, said an assessment of complaints of patients awaiting surgery found that delays are often caused by emergency trauma cases that supersede scheduled procedures.

“These cancellations frustrate patients who are awaiting surgeries, or those who have been prepared overnight. Some skip food for days while  waiting for a new slot,” he said.

“The high volumes of trauma, injury and violence often overwhelm our staff and require more theatre space, time and resources. These factors have thus compelled the department to expand its services and staffing levels.”

Orthapaedic care bolstered

The department is currently working to expand orthopaedic sections in several hospitals in the province to increase capacity. Theatre space has also been increased at Albert Nzula District Hospital in Trompsburg.

Mvambi said the department is also interviewing anaesthetists and orthopaedic specialists to bolster care.

Other facilities, such as the Manapo Hospital in QwaQwa, no longer need to refer orthopaedic cases to Pelonomi. Meanwhile, Dihlabeng Regional Hospital is now treating orthopaedic cases referred by Pelonomi.

The Fezi Ngubentombi Hospital in Sasolburg, and Boitumelo and Bongani Hospitals in Welkom, are also being equipped with additional capacity. Surgeries can now be performed requiring lower levels of care.

Pelonomi carried out 251 surgeries in November last year, 250 surgeries in December, 253 surgeries in January and 134 just last month.

Orthopaedics is the branch of surgery concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Orthopaedic surgeons use both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal traumaspine diseasessports injuriesdegenerative diseasesinfectionstumours and congenital disorders.

Relieved patients

Mathabo Mokadi, of Zamdela in Sasolburg, is pleased with the care her young daughter received at a local hospital after falling at creche.

“It is good that we have a doctor who helps us at our local hospital. It means we don’t have to make long journeys to Kroonstad,” she said.

Another injured patient, Tseo Nkhahle, said the addition of an orthopaedic section at Bongani hospital will greatly assist the local community. Until now, patients have had to travel to Kroonstad or Bloemfontein for treatment. – Health-e News