A spate of thefts and vandalism has threatened the running of Victoria Hospital in recent months.
Nurses were unable to wash patients for several hours after copper pipes were stolen, and electrical cables were ripped from a back-up generator outside the hospital, threatening the lives of patients on life support, according to the provincial department of health.
The crime spree comes as a new R80 million emergency centre is being built at the hospital (“Hospital car park concern,” Bulletin, February 21).
Western Cape Department of Health spokeswoman, Natalie Watlington, said the thefts and vandalism had threatened the running of the hospital, but security had since been beefed up.
The hospital’s water supply was disrupted when copper pipes from the borehole system were stolen. More copper pipes were stolen from a second-floor roof, further disrupting supply and causing water damage. Patients had to be moved to adjacent wards.
Ms Watlington said that after the generator had failed, the hospital, as a precaution, had had to come up with a contingency plan to protect life-support patients in the event of a power cut.
Health MEC, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, said in previous media reports that construction of the emergency centre would not impair services or patient flow and would be complete by November 2020.
Dr Mbombo said the current prefab emergency centre was too small to cope with increased patient numbers as the hospital treats about 3 000 patients a month.
According to Dr Mbombo, the main treatment area will increase from seven to 17 cubicles, with four resuscitation beds and a nebulisation area. The observation and overnight ward will also increase from eight beds to 18 with four resuscitation beds.
Ms Watlington urged anyone with information about crime at the hospital to notify the police.