Theft at Victoria Hospital

Natalie Watlington, Western Cape Department of Health spokeswoman

Further details of the thefts that occurred at Victoria hospital recently are that the generator, its batteries and cables were stolen on Wednesday April 24 (“Victoria Hospital suffers another break-in,” Bulletin, May 23).

Once the hospital replaced the stolen items, the copper cables were stolen during the first week of May. The cost of replacement of the copper pipes is estimated at R45 000. The cost to replace the generator with its batteries and cables, amounted to R11 500.

The incidents of theft and vandalism at the hospital did not affect the construction of the emergency unit in any way, due to the swift action from hospital management.

It is believed that the activity of construction has drawn attention to the hospital, and, as a result, the thieves used the opportunity to access vulnerable points.

Security measures have consequently been put in place and these no longer pose a threat to the safety of our patients.

However, the thefts impacted service delivery as resources were being used to replace stolen items and theft of water pipes. For example, patients had to be moved out of wards. Not having a working generator as a back-up would have also been detrimental to patients’ health in the event of a power outage.

All patients identified for life support through EMS services were diverted elsewhere as a precautionary measure on the day. Due to swift action of the hospital management and maintenance staff, no patients within the hospital were affected by this incident of theft and vandalism.

A number of female patients were relocated from the ward affected by water damage to ensure their safety while repairs to the roof were being completed.

We want to urge the community near Victoria Hospital to contact SAPS immediately if they notice any suspicious behaviour on the premises.

* This comment from the department arrived too late for us to publish last week