The Western Cape’s biggest hospital is in such a dilapidated state that it will have to be shut down – and replaced.
This is what Parliament’s portfolio committee on health was told on Wednesday.
Head of the Western Cape Health Department, Beth Engelbrecht, told the committee the Hospital was in a dire state, its condition contributed to the billion-rand backlog in maintenance for provincial hospitals.
“Tygerberg Hospital is under severe pressure. The CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) assessed it and said the hospital must be replaced. We have spent R700 million just on maintenance in recent years and you walk through the hospital and you can’t see it – it is sewerage lines, gas lines and water lines,” she said.
Engelbrecht said it would cost an estimated R10 billion to replace the hospital. She said the department was canvassing National Treasury for funding.
Tygerberg Hospital works in partnership with Stellenbosch University, acting as a teaching facility with the university’s health and science faculty. The hospital has more than 1384 beds and offers 28 specialist services.
“Another problem we are dealing with (at Tygerberg Hospital) is very old infrastructure. The waiting times are also the longest there,” Engelbrecht said. New hospitals were also required because of the increase in population in the province.
Keith Cloete, the department’s chief operating officer, told MPs that the demand for emergency orthopaedic surgery at the hospital recently increased to more than 100 cases a day, which had an effect on patients who were awaiting surgery.
“The issue that you find here is the upward migration of the pressure that plays itself out in the province. Tygerberg Hospital is experiencing the highest (level of) pressure in the province because of its size and because of the geographical area… where it’s situated,” Cloete said.
The department has announced plans to build a new metro district hospital in Kraaifontein. District hospitals such as the Helderberg, Swartland, Victoria and Wynberg hospitals would be replaced and new regional hospitals were planned for Klipfontein, which would replace GF Jooste Hospital, which was closed in 2014.
MPs grilled Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, Engelbrecht and Cloete. “Can we please get some answers on the department’s wasteful and fruitful expenditure, and what your audit outcomes are because you are facing all these constraints under stress?” DA MP Evelyn Wilson asked.
Chairperson Mary Ann Dunjwa said: “I was patiently waiting for you to be honest and say, ‘Here we are not doing well’, and I want to say, MEC, is this a presentation that was done for us or for the provincial legislation, because you are using terminology we do not understand.”
Mbombo said she was thankful for the opportunity to come to Parliament.
“It’s crucial for the engagement; we are not here to be defensive… we have clean audits and… face challenges such as budget constraints,” she said.
The health departments of other provinces are expected to appear before the committee within the coming days.