Pretoria — Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo has reassured staff at George Mukhari Academic Hospital that the institution has not fallen off the department's radar, and that officials were committed to giving the hospital the necessary attention it needed in order to keep serving the public.
Papo visited the hospital on Wednesday to observe and acknowledge the excellent work done by healthcare workers.
"Having been given the status of a central hospital, the institution is supposed to get more attention and be stabilised so that it can continue with its teachings and referral work... We need to get work done, hence I'm here to remind you that you are not forgotten," Papo told hospital management.
The hospital recently conducted its first successful laparoscopic operation after it received laparoscopic cameras worth R2 million, which are to be used in its surgery, cardiology, gynaecology and obstetrics units. They will also be used for urology and neurology surgeries.
Hospital CEO, Dr Trevor Fisher, told Papo that despite the limited budget, the hospital has able to achieve significant milestones including the appointment of 25 new nurses in ICU who will commence duty next year; the appointment of 19 HODs as well as the appointment of the first African female specialist in plastic surgery.
"We are not intending to let her go and want to see the hospital with more female specialists in plastic surgery. The new chillers plant, which has been a big problem, has been delivered, and the appointment of new nurses at the ICU means more operations to reduce the waiting times.
"From time to time, we have delegations from different countries coming to the hospital to benchmark themselves, and we also do training for SADC countries like Botswana," Dr Fisher told Papo.
Head of General Surgery Professor Zach Koto said if the hospital could get more support from the provincial Health Department, the institution could do more than what it was currently doing.
"With the support of provincial department, the sky is the limit. We need this institution to be one of the best in the country," said Koto.
Papo commended the hospital staff for always being willing to be innovators of solutions, instead of merely complaining about their challenges.
"The problems [of the hospital] are well known by the department. There's a sense of neglect in this institution and we have to look at that. We need to speed up some of the processes, including refurbishment and turning around the hospital facilities in terms of equipment and the number of staff, especially clinicians."
He also encouraged staff to keep doing things right and weed out those who did not care about their profession. He promised to come back next year to address and listen to the challenges facing all the staff in the hospital.
Opened in 1972, the hospital has 1 650 beds, 3 500 staff including 456 doctors and 1 453 nurses. It has 23 departments.