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Extra funding for joint replacement surgery

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To deal with an ever increasing backlog of patients awaiting knee and hip replacement surgery, Western Cape Department of Health Minister, Theuns Botha, has announced an immediate intervention that will seek to shorten the massive waiting list. This includes the allocation of R23, 5 million over the next two years, which will be channeled into joint replacement surgeries for roughly 300 patients.

The department is determined to remedy an issue that was causing great physical pain to those on the waiting list. They had thus resolved to certifying R6 million for the remainder of the current financial year, and a further R17, 5 million for next year, to the 300 most severe cases. This in turn would shorten the waiting period for the remained of those on the list.

“The people that will get prioritized for these surgeries are those that are in great pain. This is determined on a level of 0-100, with the patients in the bracket 80-100 being those that are in unbearable pain,” she said.

Other criteria would include the patient’s inability to work, their dependency on walking aids, as well as other forms of assistance required on a daily basis. Apart from the allocation of funds, the department has also established a central electronic waiting list. This will link all patients and all facilities where replacements take place, on one uniform list. All those seeking to be placed on the list, will need to go through the appropriate processes at their local clinic.

“The department works with an external system, so your problem would be picked up at your local clinic, which would then refer you to the next level of care which would be the hospital. There you would be assessed by the doctors,” she said.

There are currently eight hospitals where joint surgeries take place, and that consolidate the new electronic waiting list. They include the New Somerset, Groote Schuur, Tygerberg, Paarl, GF Jooste, George, Victoria, and Mitchell’s Plain hospitals. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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