Fine hospital not working
NINE months since the opening of a new R500-million hospital in Germiston on the East Rand, the 300 beds and four operating theatres were still empty this week.
The state-of-the-art Bertha Gxowa Hospital was opened in November last year as part of a revamp and extension of the old Germiston Hospital. Since then the hospital has not been fully functional. Patients have been housed in the adjacent Germiston Hospital building.
Bertha Gxowa has until this week only been providing pharmacy services, an antenatal clinic, outpatients clinic and chronic illness clinic. The hospital also boasts a Home Affairs birth registration office, a lounge for new fathers and a mortuary, all of which have not been used.
When Sowetan visited the hospital this week only one of the four lifts of the public was working. Outpatients had to bring their own food as there was no canteen.
Some public toilets were not flushing.
Maternity emergencies were still being referred to the old Germiston Hospital.
The beds in the new wards were not occupied. According to staff patients were to be moved to the new building this week.
The old building is in disrepair. The walls are cracking and the toilets filthy. The only public lift was not working.
Jacqueline McDonald, a patient for two weeks, said conditions were disgusting.
"We are about 20 in my ward and we fight over the two toilets. Some patients soil themselves in their beds because the toilets are always busy or not working at all," said McDonald. "We also bring our own linen because the laundry machine is faulty."
Hospital CEO Christina Mndaweni did not want speak about the cause for the delay.
"We've had a few snags at the new building and there's no point talking about them now as they have been fixed," she said. "We are starting to move some of the 149 patients and we hope to finish by Friday (today)."
The communication office of the Gauteng department of health failed to comment yesterday.