It has been reported to the DA that the operating theatres at Dora Nginza Hospital are without power and that the backup generators are not working.

It is not yet known how long this has been the case, but the DA has been informed that patients with procedures scheduled for this morning have been turned away and told that their next available theatre dates available are only in July.

Questions that the department needs to answer and address with immediate effect is why has this happened? Why are the generators not working? Were there any operations in process when the electricity went out? Were any patients affected in any way? What is the department doing to rectify the situation immediately and what is being done to assist the patients turned away with significantly sooner procedure slots? The most important question that needs to be addressed is whether the Trauma or Emergency theatre has electricity and whether it has a functional generator? If this is not the case, people will die!

I am submitting these and other questions related to backup generators within the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and High Care facilities as Parliamentary Questions to the MEC of Health, Sicelo Gqobana, with immediate effect. One can only imagine the mass losses of life that would occur if electricity cuts were to affect unprepared Trauma Units and ICUs with ventilators.

Dora Nginza is listed as one of the five hospitals to benefit from the R1 billion budgeted by the department for infrastructural maintenance and upgrades. However, highly essential generators needed by all the remaining facilities across the province falls within the health care infrastructure backlog that even the MEC admitted will not be addressed by the department’s decreased R15.1 billion budget.

The excessively bloated administration of the Eastern Cape Department of Health needs to be streamlined and more funding must be secured to address the health care infrastructure backlog. If this is not done, departmental officials need to be held responsible for the deaths they allow to happen needlessly in this province.