Orthopaedic surgery backlogs have become old news at Bloemfontein’s Pelonomi Hospital, but it’s still fresh hell for the patients admitted every day and forced to sleep on chairs, on floors and on stretchers pushed up against corridor walls waiting for beds, often for weeks.
A company with a track record of supplying inferior medical equipment to the Free State health department recently sent five mobile x-ray units to Pelonomi Hospital, but it had to be returned after a key part of the machines was too short, making it unusable and increasing the risk of radiation exposure for patients. By Anso Thom and Marcus Low
The Free State Department of Health has advertised a large new three-year private ambulance tender that flies in the face of comments by Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi that it is not national policy to outsource ambulance services. Spotlight also has evidence that a Municipal government employee attended the pre-bid briefing on behalf of controversial businessman Thapelo Buthelezi. By Marcus Low and Anso Thom
An article this week by the Daily Maverick’s Ferial Haffajee The sordid story of Mosebenzi ‘Gupta’ Zwane – South Africa’s most captured Cabinet minister reminds us just what a scumbag this former MEC, Minister and still Member of our Parliament is.
A Gauteng-based ambulance operator, Buthelezi EMS, that is currently the subject of both Hawks and Treasury investigations has scored road and air ambulance contracts in the so-called Premier league provinces amounting to over a Billion Rand since 2013 and they are frontrunners to secure a lucrative new three year tender for Emergency Medical Services in the Free State.
Doctors and nurses in the Free State and North West have accused Buthelezi EMS, the private company contracted to run provincial ambulance services, of operating like a minibus taxi and “drop and go” service.
Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has asked treasury to investigate the procurement of ambulance services from Buthelezi EMS, a controversial private ambulance company that has been awarded large contracts in the Free State and North West.
While healthcare workers in the Free State report theatre temperatures of 30 degrees Celcius, a halt to cancer biopsies, and an ongoing orthopaedic crisis, the provincial Department of Health insists that orthopaedic services and surgery are not collapsing.