- Staff at Khayelitsha District Hospital (the Hospital) in Cape Town are overwhelmed with cases while having to manage staff and resource shortages.
- On Wednesday, the hospital’s CEO was addressing members of the Provincial Health Standing Committee.
- He told them the hospital urgently needed R150 million to address staffing issues, backlogs of surgeries and the general lack of resources at the facility.
- The provincial health department told politicians that R114 million had been allocated for additional services across the province, which Khayelitsha Hospital is expected to benefit from.
The growing burden of mental health issues associated with drug addiction and unemployment in Khayelitsha has been compounded by the Covid pandemic. This is according to Khayelitsha District Hospital CEO David Binza.
Binza told members of the Western Cape Provincial Parliament’s Standing Committee on Health on February 23 that the hospital urgently needed a R150 million cash injection to address staffing issues, surgeries in waiting and the general lack of resources in the establishment.
He explained that since it opened in 2012, the hospital had “exponentially grown” and was experiencing a spike in cases, particularly in the trauma unit. “Khayelitsha faces a quadruple disease burden. By that I mean a lot of violence, trauma and injury, communicable diseases like TB and HIV, with a growing trend of non-communicable diseases like hypertension and diabetes,” he said. .
Binza said the hospital’s trauma services are extremely busy on weekends, month-ends, holidays and when there are major community events. “It is experiencing a lot of constraints as it is the only hospital in Khayelitsha and the demand exceeds the supply,” Binza said.
In January, a media report highlighted the impact of staffing and resource shortages at the hospital. Members of the provincial legislature also visited the site following complaints that patients had to sleep on the floor and were treated poorly by staff.
According to Binza, the hospital has a capacity of 340 beds but often has to accommodate nearly 450 patients. “We often find ourselves operating at 130% or more,” he said.
Binza said there were 369 vacancies at the hospital. He admitted that staff morale at the hospital was low, but they were trying to improve that through team building. He noted that staff were often assaulted on their way to work.
Dr Saadiq Kariem, chief operating officer of the Western Cape Provincial Department of Health, told the standing committee that R114 million had been allocated to fund additional services at facilities in the province, from which the hospital would benefit . But some members of the committee expressed concern that this amount was not enough to have an impact on the current situation at the hospital.
Binza said staff were doing what they could to try to resolve some of the issues at the hospital. “Other things that could ease the pressure on the hospital would be the construction of Belhar Regional Hospital. This could help with our workload as patients from surrounding areas like Mfuleni could be redirected there. a long-term process,” Binza said.
In a statement released after the briefing, Wendy Kaizer-Philander, DA member of the Western Cape Provincial Legislature, said additional agency staff would be used to make up for staff shortages, “as well as general additions to its current infrastructure”.
Kaizer-Philander said a 30-bed expansion unit is expected to be completed next year. Radio campaigns would be used to “help raise awareness of the facilities the community should be looking for”.
GroundUp asked the provincial ministry about its budget allocation to the hospital. Abulele Dyasi, communications officer for Khayelitsha Eastern Substructure at the Provincial Department of Health, told us that budget allocations have yet to be confirmed. “Part of the funding for the 2022/23 financial year will be used to help with operations, resources, equipment and human resources. This would help Khayelitsha District Hospital resolve theater backlogs, maximize time spent in theater and improve theater efficiency. »
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