Hospitals will never be able to eliminate backlogs in surgeries, says Johannesburg Hospital chief executive Sagie Pillay.
He was responding to a statement by the DA earlier this week that claimed nearly 5000 patients were awaiting surgery in Gauteng's four main public hospitals: Johannesburg, Chris Hani-Baragwanath, Pretoria Academic and Dr George Mukhari.
Pillay said he assumed the DA's statement was "probably true". He said the estimate of about 1000 patients waiting for surgery at Johannesburg Hospital was accurate.
"Johannesburg Hospital prioritises patients. The most urgent cases are attended to first. Lately we have seen a rise in emergencies, which consequently bumps planned surgeries," he said.
He said waiting periods differed for different procedures.
"The waiting period for heart surgery is anything between two and four months," he said.
He stressed that emergencies were attended to immediately.
"All we can do is keep the backlog as short as possible." - Sapa