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Heating blues hit Charlotte Maxeke

About 15 surgeries cancelled, operations rescheduled

Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. File photo.
Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

Heating system failures led to operations being cancelled at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. According to Gauteng health department spokesperson Motalatale Modiba, 15 surgeries were cancelled due to low temperature at theatres at the facility.

He said 53 operations were scheduled for July 10 but only 26 were done.

“Fifteen were cancelled due to low temperatures at theatres and 12 were cancelled for reasons not related to low temperatures,” said Modiba. 

However, DA Gauteng shadow health MEC Jack Bloom claimed there were more than 100 operations that were cancelled in three major Gauteng hospitals last week, including Charlotte Maxeke. 

Bloom said he received the data from sources who contacted him with complaints from these facilities.

He said the cancellation was based on water cut off, flooding and heating failure in operating theatres. 

“Many operations were cancelled at Charlotte Maxeke as temperatures in the theatres were too low due to a heating system failure. The impact of these cancellations is devastating for patients who may have waited more than a year while suffering in pain,” said Bloom. 

Bloom said it was due to poor maintenance. 

But Modiba said the problem of temperature control has been a challenge for the facility for years but that it has become worse in the last two years. 

“It became worse due to the copper theft which took place during the period when the facility was evacuated for months after the fire incident. This affected the central heating system of the facility, which regulates the level of acceptable temperatures in the entire hospital, but mostly in the theatres,” Modiba explained. 

Modiba said that remedy of the situation was in progress as from June 28 this year a contractor had completed the installation of schedule 40 pipes for blocks 2, 3 and 4, which are less susceptible to theft. 

“The installation process at Block 5 has already started and the work is progressing well ahead of schedule. The water system is currently running, with close monitoring, at all three blocks where the scheduled 40 pipes were installed to check for any possible leaks as the system has not been running for the past two years,” said Modiba. 

“The facility would further like to assure the public that this matter is getting the urgency it deserves, and cancelled cases are being attended to.”

He said he needed more time to gather information regarding other facilities cancelling surgeries.


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