Departmental spokesperson, Mondli Mvambi, said the hospital had faced two different pipe breaks since Saturday, October 29, 2022. The department became aware of the first pipe break through social media posts. where people complained about the lack of water in the hospital.
“After investigating, we found out that it was indeed true – there is water in the greater Kroonstad area, except for our hospital in Boitumelo due to a broken pipe,” adds Mvambi. . The case was settled and the pipe was repaired on Monday, October 31, 2022.
On Tuesday, November 1, 2022, another pipe burst on another side of the hospital, which the department’s technical services section took care of. “The contractors on site have promised that the problem will be solved as soon as possible – even before Thursday, November 3, 2022.”
Even with the pipe breaks that have occurred, Mvambi says patients were and continue to be manually supplied with water for toilets, bathing and drinking water for their medications. “The inconvenience caused by the burst pipe is regrettable, but the department is aware of the situation and services have not been interrupted,” he concluded.
The challenges at the hospital had previously been put on the spotlight by the provincial Democratic Alliance (DA) after a monitoring visit. The biggest challenge faced at the hospital was the backlog of orthopedic surgeries.
DA Health spokesperson in the Provincial Legislative Assembly, Mariëtte Pittaway, alleged that they had found the operating rooms non-functional and had been a problem since May 2022.
“Air conditioners are down due to vandalism and we have also found leaky roofs in theaters. We have been advised that only emergency procedures are ongoing in theaters.”
She adds that operating without an air conditioner in high temperatures is an extreme risk and increases the risk of infection. Broken air conditioners are just one of the challenges at Boitumelo Hospital. The DA is of the opinion that there is little or no general upkeep at the hospital.
“Boitumelo Hospital is part of the National Hospital Revitalization Program, and modernization began in 2009. Contract 12 of this program, which includes an intensive care unit, is still not completed as planned in 2014” , Pittaway said.
The party further alleges that there is currently a backlog of 2,947 surgeries in the province.
The problem of a backlog of orthopedic surgeries in the province is not unusual. In early 2022, some of the patients at the province’s main trauma hospital, Pelonomi Hospital, complained of a long wait time for surgery.
A doctor, who spoke anonymously, described some of the challenges that led to the backlog of orthopedic operations at the hospital. The doctor at the time said there was a critical shortage of nurses and the shortage was worsening after office hours and on weekends.
Due to the shortage of nurses, a single block can be used for all trauma cases. Among the lack of personnel was also a lack of medical supplies, such as syringe needles and protective clothing, as well as a delay in the maintenance of equipment and a lack of linen.
The shortage of staff affects not only nurses but also security guards and cleaning ladies. Doctors and nurses should intervene regularly to prepare the theater for the next surgery.
UPDATE: Water issues at Boitumelo Hospital in Kroonstad, Free State are resolved after the burst water main is repaired. The hospital’s sister in charge of the injured, Matsie Mofokeng, expressed her gratitude to the department’s technical team for helping and ensuring that water is restored to the hospital. “We haven’t had any water for the past two days, but from now on we have – all thanks to the department’s technical team who have worked tirelessly.”