Joburg hospital cancer machines down, says DA
Cancer patients were continuing to suffer at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital because of a machinery breakdown, the DA said on Wednesday.
Nine machines for treating cervical cancer, including cobalt external radiation machines, were broken and five others kept breaking down, said Democratic Alliance Gauteng health spokesman Jack Bloom.
He said Siemens was refusing to service the machines because it had not been paid by Phambili Hospital Products, which is the intermediary company which has a contract with the department.
"The fault appears to lie with Phambili, because the department claims that it has paid the company," he said.
Bloom said the dispute needed to be urgently resolved, as it was hindering patients' chances of survival.
He said DA was proposing that the department terminate its contract with Phambili to cut costs.
"I am deeply suspicious as to why there is an intermediary company at all, instead of a direct contract with Siemens," he said.
"We should not have to pay higher costs through an intermediary company that does not deliver, and appears to be there merely because of misdirected empowerment requirements."
Comment from the hospital could not be immediately obtained.
The Gauteng health department acknowledged there was a problem with the hospital's equipment.
Spokesman Simon Zwane said the department was aware that the machines were functioning at 70% capacity.