Overcrowded Gauteng hospitals raise concerns about services, disease spread

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Overcrowding at Gauteng state hospitals has raised concerns about the adequate provision of health care services and the potential spread of diseases.

Tembisa and Kopanong hospitals have admitted that their facilities are overcrowded due to the increasing demand for healthcare services.

Nurses union, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA), says the casualty section of Kopanong Hospital in the Vaal is overcrowded with patients forced to sleep on stretchers due to a shortage of beds.

“We’re seeing very high numbers of males with mental healthcare challenges.  The hospital has a 30 bedded ward, but in many instances the numbers are far higher,” the Gauteng Department of Health’s Meisie Lerutla says.

The Tembisa hospital continues to admit critical patients, especially pregnant mothers despite wards reaching their full capacity.

There are no lower level hospitals closer to Tembisa Hospital which could be used for down referral purposes.

In-migration, the increased disease burden and drug abuse are cited as contributing factors.