National Health department takes lead in Charlotte Maxeke Hospital revamp

The National Health Department has taken the lead in the revamping and repair of the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital.
The hospital – which is a critical part of Gauteng healthcare services – suffered extensive damage when a fire broke out at the facility in April last year.
Before the fire, the hospital could accommodate at least 1068 in-patients, offered services at some 52 outpatient clinics, offered specialised services such as radiology oncology and treated at least 74 000 people a month.
The National Health Department’s head of infrastructure, Ayanda Dakela, said the department has already developed a project plan and work has begun to “make sure the facility is fully functional” as quickly as possible.
“During the last two weeks, we have done an assessment. We walked through the facility, we have checked out the areas where the fire has caused a lot of damage and we have identified the areas that require urgent attention,” Dakela said.
Gauteng Provincial Government Acting Director-General Thabo Masebe said the decision for the national department to lead the project is an effort to fast track its completion.
“[We] had been engaged with the Minister of Health [Dr Joe Phaahla] about what we can do together to fast track this project. We then agreed that because of the issues of capacity, it would be best to allow the national department to play a more prominent role in the project.
“The project will now be led by national and the department has also the DBSA as the implementing agent. All of this we are doing in order to fast track the project,” he said.
The hospital is expected to be back in full operation by the end of 2023 with services returning alongside the project.
The Accident and Emergency Section is expected to be handed over at the end of this month and will signal the completion of the first phase of the project.
Masebe highlighted that several factors have delayed the project to repair the hospital – including disagreement between the provincial departments of Infrastructure and Health on the project’s scope and budget.
“In December we decided with [Gauteng Premier David Makhura] that we should look at other options within the law so that’s what brought us to the Premier then making a determination to transfer the functions of this hospital from the [provincial] Department of Infrastructure to the [provincial] Department of Health. This would enable us to look at all other options to fast track the project,” he said.
The transfer is limited to the work to be done at the facility.
Masebe highlighted that further delays were caused when the SIU handed the provincial government a report flagging possible wrongdoing on the part of provincial health and infrastructure officials in the renovation of another hospital.
“As we were looking at all these options, we received a report from the SIU and that report said to us that there are a number of senior officials [from the departments] who were implicated in wrongdoing in the appointment of contractors for the refurbishment of Anglo Gold Ashanti Hospital and indications are that other work might reveal that there was wrongdoing by the same officials.
“We also had to deal with this issue which would obviously impact our capacity to deliver on this project in the shortest possible time,” he said. – SAnews

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