Alcohol misuse puts ‘massive strain’ on Gauteng hospitals - MEC Bandile Masuku

08 June 2020 - 13:55 By Iavan Pijoos
Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku said the concerns would be raised with the national and provincial command councils for stricter regulations on alcohol.
Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku said the concerns would be raised with the national and provincial command councils for stricter regulations on alcohol.
Image: 123RF/Dario Lo Presti

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku said the return of the sale and consumption of alcohol had put a “massive strain” on emergency departments at hospitals in the province.

“It is something of great concern because now we have to navigate in terms of the competing needs of the resources that we have,” he said while visiting schools that reopened on Monday.

Masuku said these concerns would be raised with the national and provincial command councils on the coronavirus to ensure the strict regulation of alcohol.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that alcohol-related trauma cases plus Covid-19 “massively” reduced access to medical care for those with other conditions.

Prof Elmin Steyn, Tygerberg Hospital’s head of surgery and the trauma unit, told the publication that patients waiting for surgery ended up having to go to ICU.

Steyn said the problem was that the ICU beds were filled with gravely ill Covid-19 patients.

Dr Pat Saffy, head of the Helen Joseph Hospital emergency department, said with the increase in trauma cases, doctors from the hospital’s other departments, who have been helping with Covid-19 patients, were needed for the trauma patients.

Masuku said his department received a weekly update on the province’s top 20 wards and hotspots. Teams were sent out to do screening and testing in these areas.

Johannesburg central and the CBD, which included many informal settlements, were the province’s hotspots, Masuku said. He also expressed concern about Boksburg in Ekurhuleni and the mining area of Merafong.

“Nonetheless, as you can see, by and large citizens are complying with the regulations and are wearing masks.”

He said he was “grateful” that religious leaders were also complying with the regulations.


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