The Oncology unit at Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg will re-open this week, following numerous complaints from cancer patients regarding their medication.
The rest of the hospital will however remain closed following a fire that gutted parts of the facility over a month ago.
Contractors are on site fixing the damage and police have not yet begun investigations into the incident.
Gauteng Provincial Government Acting Director General, Thabo Masebe says, “The hospital is closed, only the oncology building will open this week subject to the conditions. The hospital remains closed and patients are in other facilities and some have been discharged. So when the oncology department is open, we will take patients who use those services.”
Charlotte Maxeke Hospital to reopen oncology unit:
The Gauteng government also can’t tell how much the entire project will cost.
“We still don’t know now. We have to establish the extent of the damage and we will know what we need to do to get the building fixed and how much that would cost. This is a multi-story building, there are slabs that separate the storeys so they all rest on the pillars and the hinges, so the fire caused damage to some of the hinges. So they have to go in and put things to support the slabs so that people can enter the building without the slabs falling,” says Masebe.
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) inspected the site of the blaze.
The head of the SAHRC in Gauteng, Buang Jones says, “This was a fact finding mission on our part because we received complaints from cancer patients in particular, who could not receive oncology services. They lamented the lack of communication and we wanted to establish from the government if there was sufficient communication. And where there were challenges, how do we resolve these challenges.”
Buang Jones says the hospital will be reopened in phases.
“The first phase is to open the oncology unit located outside of the main buildings, so cancer patients will be able to access these buildings. But the other blocks will still not be accessible until there has been some work done. They are also in the process of soliciting legal opinion to ensure that when they allow staff and patients to come back that this is in line with the constitution. So that they are not found wanting because there are serious legal ramifications, should they be found wanting in this respect, added Buang.
There’s also no indication as to how long it would take the Gauteng government to reopen the entire hospital.
Charlotte Maxeke Hospital fire brings the safety of government buildings back to the spotlight: