Bone scans halted as new machine stands unused

Patients at Livingstone Hospital have been unable to undergo bone scans for the past two months as the old machine is broken – and too old to fix – while a new machine cannot be used because it has no housing.

Eastern Cape department of health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said yesterday: “The machine is old and cannot be repaired because the parts are not available anymore.

“We are in the process of installing new equipment that was delivered earlier this year.”

He could not say how long patients would still have to wait before they could get their bone scans done again.

“The installation of the new machine will take a while because we need to build a new room for it,” he said. A separate bunker had to be constructed for health and safety reasons, he said.

Cole Cameron of the Igazi Foundation, an NGO representing the interests of patients with blood cancers, said their patients were also affected by the situation.

“This constant cycle of reactive governance as opposed to proactive governancy in our department of health is shocking,” he said.

The DA’s Celeste Barker said that she was shocked by the news.

“Again we say that failing to plan is planning to fail. How could the department of health provide a diagnostic machine in January but no space to house it?

“I will submit questions to the MEC for health, Dr Pumza Dyantyi, because such a dereliction of duty infringes patients’ rights and constitutes service delivery failure.”

Fikile Boyce of the Eastern Cape Health Crisis Coalition Action Group said a new machine that could not be installed was as bad as no machine.

“There is a high demand for bone scans and having a machine that cannot be used because of lack of space is as good as not having the machine. The taxpayers’ money is being wasted while people die due to a lack of space for the machine.

“We feel that the hospital CEO should be held to account for wasteful expenditure as the machine has been there since the beginning of the year.”

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