Limpopo health MEC Dr Phophi Ramathuba has slammed accusations that there is a shortage of beds in hospitals around the province.
She also rubbished claims that the department had pooled beds because of the strain it was experiencing due to the surge in the number of coronavirus cases, saying that this was a plan put in place in May last year.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the surge/resurgence of Covid-19 cases and the need to admit patients suffering from all diseases including Covid-19, all beds in the all hospitals have been pooled to enable admission of patients,” Ramathuba said.
“These beds are not controlled by the hospitals but rather the province.”
According to Ramathuba, this was done to ensure that no patient was turned away because of a shortage of beds.
“Currently, all our hospitals have beds. Should one of all our hospitals be full, new patients will be admitted and captured in the hospital system. A bed will be secured for them at the nearest hospital and they will be transported to that hospital.”
Ramathuba said the only the private sector was currently experiencing pressure and strain.
“It is not a secret that the private sector is experiencing strain currently,” she said.
“Today [Thursday] I was at Netcare Pholoso hospital to assist them with beds because they are now full.”
According to DA MP Lindy Wilson, the move to pool beds was a catastrophe waiting to happen.
“If a person is taken to a hospital and there are no beds, the hospitals will phone and source a bed in another hospital,” said Wilson.
“The risks are huge when patients are very ill, and the costs of [emergency] services are huge. Furthermore, [emergency] services can no longer service emergencies because they are having to travel and then queue at hospitals a long way away.”
She said emergency services were collapsing in the province because people were dying and that cold trucks were being moved to mortuaries to store bodies as their facilities could no longer cope.
Ramathuba refuted Wilson’s those claims as false.
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