Johannesburg – The delays in refurbishing and reopening the Kempton Park Hospital have left many people with a long journey to seek medical care.
This has also resulted in overcrowding at Tembisa Hospital, which is seeing a daily increase in the number of people seeking medical attention.
“One night I visited casualty in Tembisa Hospital at 02:00 to see how things were going and there was only one doctor with patients coming from reception and triage, all beds and chairs were occupied and a couple were sitting on the floor. The staff was stretched,” said DA Gauteng constituency head for Tembisa Refiloe Nt’sekhe.
The overcrowding is also having a severe impact on the quality of health care being provided. Mpho Ndou, a Tembisa resident, recently lost her grandmother and has blamed the death on the situation unfolding at the hospital. She said that her grandmother was discharged while she was still in pain as they were told that there were no available beds.
“My grandmother was 67 years old and very ill. On Sunday, November 6, I took her to the clinic at Sangweni at 3am and they transferred her to Tembisa Hospital. Upon her admission, she spent two days in a wheelchair because all beds were occupied. On Wednesday they discharged her, saying that there were no attainable beds. I could see that she was still in pain. The following day, she passed on at home,” said Ndou.
Another Tembisa resident, 70, echoed these sentiments. She said she spent five days in a wheelchair before she was given a bed. But that would only be the start of her ordeal. She further claimed that when she was eventually sent home, she had bedsores on her bum. The family claims she did not have any before her admission.
“When she left home, she had no bedsores. We were saddened by her condition. It’s sad that now she’s discharged but she is still not in good health. We wish the department could reopen the Kempton Park Hospital to ease the crowding of patients at Tembisa Hospital,” said a family member who asked not to be named.
Tembisa Hospital officials declined to comment on the overcrowding at the institution.
MEC for Health Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko recently confirmed that plans were afoot to build a new 300-bed Kempton Park Hospital. This was brought to light in response to the questions asked about the old Kempton Park Hospital. The department has requested the Gauteng Infrastructure Financing Agency (GIFA) to intervene and aid in terms of funding proposals to knock down the old and reconstruct the new Kempton Park Hospital.
“The request for proposal, including the estimated costs by GIFA, is still under consideration, there are no timelines at this stage,” said the head of communication, Motalatale Modiba.
The Department of Health does not consider refurbishment of the old hospital as a possibility, but building a new one instead, as the costs of revamping would be higher compared with starting a new facility.
“In 2014, the department requested the Department of Infrastructure Development (DID) to plan the renovation and refurbishment of the existing hospital infrastructure. The department was informed that the cost of renovation was comparatively too high for an old building as compared to a new hospital. It was then decided that the existing buildings should be demolished, the site cleared, and a new hospital is built on the same site,” Modiba said.
However, Nt’sekhe did not agree with the department. She said the department was lying and misleading the residents of Kempton Park, as the promises of building a 300-bed hospital have been there for years, but to date, nothing has materialised.
“I have been an MPL since 2014, so I have seen this movie a few times before. The department would say they are planning to reopen and nothing will happen. I will have some belief if I see a timeline, a budget and a tender for a contractor to do the job,” Nt’sekhe said.