16 May 2018

South Africa: Free State Doctors Battle With Sub-Standard Theatre Equipment

analysis

Brand new theatre beds are broken within months and sub-standard anaesthesia machines stand unused following the award of a multi-million rand medical equipment tender by the Free State Department of Health to a company called Mediquip SA Hub of which two co-directors are George Sebulela, of the Black Business Council and one of the latest additions to the Eskom board, and Tefetso Bernard Phitsane, a senior ANC politician in the Free State and close ally of Ace Magashule.

Doctors report that newly purchased theatre beds are breaking in Free State hospitals within months of installation, making it hard to perform critical surgery.

"The department have bought entry-level equipment from China. The mechanism that was supposed to get the tables to move up and down and tilt broke within weeks. The anaesthetists refuse to use the machines," said a frustrated specialist, who has asked to remain anonymous. We also don't identify the hospital where the specialist is based as health workers are sanctioned if they speak to the media.

At one hospital, a height-adjustable orthopaedic theatre bed got stuck on a too high setting, forcing doctors to stand on benches while operating. In other cases,...

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