Maintenance slashed for Gauteng hospitals – Jack Bloom

Jack Bloom (Image by da-gpl.co.za)

The bad news in the Gauteng Provincial Budget that was tabled is that the money for maintenance in Gauteng hospitals and clinics has been slashed by more than half, from R750 million last year to R356 million.

The overall health infrastructure budget is down from R2 billion to R1.6 billion.

It is projected to fall even further to R866 million in 2018/19 and R914 million in 2019/20.

This is grossly inadequate to deal with growing maintenance backlogs in our hospitals and clinics, as well as build new health facilities for a growing population.

Many of our hospitals are visibly crumbling, creating risks for staff and patients.

We saw this last week with the collapse of part of the roof at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital.

I doubt whether enough money has been set aside to fix all the identified problems at CMJH and other hospitals.

The smelly and moldy emergency room at the Jeppe Street clinic in inner-city Johannesburg that I visited last week may not be fixed soon either (photo available on request).

Maintenance and repair have again not received the priority that it deserves in the provincial budget.

This heightens the danger of more incidents where safety is threatened because of decaying buildings.

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