Plan needed to cut backlogs

The disclosure by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang that surgery backlogs as a result of the civil service strike will take nearly a year to clear up, highlights the need for a more effective plan to cut back the long waiting lists for operations in state hospitals.

The disclosure by Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang that surgery backlogs as a result of the civil service strike will take nearly a year to clear up, highlights the need for a more effective plan to cut back the long waiting lists for operations in state hospitals.

According to the minister, the private health sector was very accommodating in treating 1000 critically-ill state patients at a substantially reduced costs during the strike.

This private-public partnership should be extended to assist with cutting the surgery backlogs, starting with the most urgent cases.

I am sure a very cost-effective rate could be negotiated as there is spare capacity at many private hospitals.

There is also a lot of goodwill that can be tapped into, including private doctors and nurses who would volunteer.

We need a concerted national effort with all role-players to minimise the suffering of people who wait for months and even years for vitally-needed surgery.

Johannesburg Hospital should make optimal use of all its 36 operating theatres, instead of cutting back to 22 theatres and cancelling operations because of a shortage of anaesthetists.

Jack Bloom, DA spokesman on health, Gauteng

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