My five year old recently tried to ride his bicycle up a flight of stairs! It didn’t end well and he needed to have some stitches on his chin.
After spending 5 ½ hours at our local government hospital (False Bay), waiting to see a doctor and watching 40 year old drunks and 18 year olds with sprained ankles getting Triage preference over a five year old boy, I took him to Mediclinic in Constantia and within 30 or so minutes, my son was stitched up and we were on our way home with a war story for his classmates.
So why the disgrace?
Fortunately, I have the resources to choose private healthcare. The disgrace is that the majority of South Africans have no choice, nor the funds to afford my luxury and must grin and bear it when they need the state’s help. Think about it: If you end up at a hospital, 99% of the time it is because you need the advice or skills of a doctor / surgeon / nurse because you are that concerned about the welfare of your child, yourself, your partner or a friend. Yet it appears as if our hospitals are been run on shoe string budgets…
The question must be asked: What happened to our world-class hospitals?
The answer lies in the government’s failure to adequately manage both our hospitals and other state run facilities. The money is being spent. The budgets are adequate, but there is no political will to make our lives better. Lots of posturing. Lots of promises, but no results. Think about this: Private hospitals operate profitably and efficiently and exist only because of the government’s inability to deliver.
So what do we do?
My two cents worth: The only way we are going to fix this crisis is if government officials that are employed by us and represent us, have to use the same facilities that the average south African does.
We should petition that if you are employed by government, you must use the facilities that the government provides. When Madiba was on his death-bed, it wasn’t at Groote Schuur or at Baragwanath Hospital, it was at a private hospital. Where does Jacob, Mmusi or Julius go when they are that sick? I can guarantee you it isn’t to a state facility. I believe that if those that are elected into power are forced to use the same facilities (hospitals, schools and so on) that we have to use, we might just find that suddenly, they become world-class facilities again…