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Concerns raised over impact of budget cuts at Khayelitsha district hospital

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Concerns have been raised over budget cuts at the Khayelitsha District Hospital, where a lack of medical staff continues to be a potential risk for patients.

Last year, the National Treasury cut the health budget by 4.9% for 2023/2024 and urged provincial departments to curb spending.

The cuts included a freeze on hiring staff, scrapping non-essential travel and delaying the purchase of any equipment until the end of March this year.

Khayelitsha District Hospital staff spoke to Eyewitness News about how they have been affected over the festive season.

Hospital staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said management was allegedly instructed not to schedule locum doctors and nurses from 21 December 2023 until the end of January this year.

Management was allegedly further instructed to refer trauma patients to emergency care, raising concerns that the waiting time could pass the 70-hour window for evidence collection.

Western Cape Health Department spokesperson Byron La Hoe said provincial government was aware of the situation.

“Khayelitsha Hospital, like most other emergency centres, experienced a very busy new year and holiday period. Unfortunately, this has caused longer than usual delays for clients.”

La Hoe said the department had since acted to re-distribute its resources to ease the burden.

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