1789 patients wait for cataract ops at Bara

Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

1789 patients wait for up to 18 months for a cataract operation at the St John’s Eye Clinic at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

The long waiting list has been worsened by 526 cataract operations that were cancelled or deferred last year.

This was disclosed yesterday by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a reply to the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health Jack Bloom’s questions at a sitting of the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mahlangu, the cancellations were mostly due to patient factors such as ill-health or lack of consent, “but I have heard many stories of cancellations due to equipment failure and staff shortage,” said Bloom.

“For instance, on January 20, patients with scheduled operations were told to go home because machinery was not working.”

Bloom said it was also reported last year that there were 19 vacancies out of 40 positions.

“The St John’s Eye Clinic has the longest waiting time for cataracts in Gauteng.

“This is inhumane and an abuse of the elderly which should not be allowed to continue.

“We need special measures to improve the situation there as soon as possible, such as the extension of operating hours over weekends, and a partnership with the private health sector,” Bloom added.


Siyabonga Mashele

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