Reports alleging that psychiatric patients are currently being shoved into any available room or corner in the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg, and have to wait for up to seven days for treatment are extremely alarming.
This dire situation is the result of the fact that the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital, which was closed a year ago and was supposed to re-open on 14 March 2022, to alleviate the pressure on other hospitals in the vicinity, will not re-open as planned.
The theft of electrical cables and electric breaker boards from the hospital ruined the planned re-opening.
At present, the health care system cannot afford to have a single hospital in Gauteng that is not fully operational.
It puts a needless burden on all the other hospitals in the province that must treat millions of people.
The Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, must urgently intervene in the ongoing Charlotte Maxeke crisis seeing as the provincial Department of Health seems unable to resolve the problem.
Clearly, the other hospitals, like Helen Joseph, cannot handle the increased pressure as the closure of Charlotte Maxeke’s casualties and psychiatric units is putting pressure on the psychiatric unit at Helen Joseph, which seems unable to cope.
The FF Plus warns that urgent action must be taken to prevent a catastrophe similar to the Life Esidimeni tragedy, which occurred in 2016 when 144 patients died due to neglect, dehydration and starvation.
There exists a real possibility for such a tragedy if the Minister does not step in to resolve the crisis as soon as possible.