Almost 1‚500 patients waiting for surgery at Helen Joseph Hospital: DA

A total of 1‚478 patients is waiting for surgery at the Helen Joseph Hospital in west Johannesburg‚ with some patients waiting up to 16 months for an operation.

The DA’s Jack Bloom said on Sunday that this was revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to his questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

“The longest list is for eye surgery where 600 patients need operations‚ followed by Orthopaedics with 566 patients‚” Bloom said.

Other lists were as follows:

– General surgery — 194

– Urology — 39

– Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) — 37

– Breast — 23

– Neurology — 19

“The longest waiting time is at Orthopaedics where patients will wait between 12 and 16 months for a hip or knee operation. This means that a new patient will be scheduled for surgery in October next year.

“Cataract operations will take 6 months but ENT has done well in bringing waiting times down from 3 to 6 months to 3 to 6 weeks which shows what can be done with good organisation‚” said Bloom‚ who is the DA’s Gauteng shadow health MEC.

Neurosurgery will take 4 to 5 months but Urology is 4 to 6 weeks and breast surgery is also done quite speedily‚ especially for cancer patients‚ he added.

Bloom said he was concerned that 104 operations were cancelled last year‚ some because patients did not show up‚ and others because of power outages.

“It’s a mixed picture for surgery at this hospital‚ with some departments showing improvements but problematic delays with eye surgery and Orthopaedics.

“Patient numbers are increasing because the hospital takes patients from other provinces as well‚ even some from the Eastern Cape.

“Further efforts are needed to cut down the waiting lists as much as possible as patients suffer from long waiting times‚” said Bloom.