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Gauteng govt blew R1.2 billion on ICU field hospitals that still aren't complete

29 September 2020 6:16 PM
Tags:
Gauteng government
Gauteng Health Department
Mark Heywood
Daily Maverick
ICU beds
Maverick Citizen
Covid-19 field hospitals
Covid-19 ICU units

Maverick Citizen editor Mark Heywood says the Gauteng government has spent more than R1 billion on incomplete field hospitals while the Covid-19 surge has already passed.

Heywood has published an investigative report published on Maverick Citizen, a section of the Daily Maverick.

In the report, titled Big questions loom over Gauteng’s billion-rand ICU field hospitals, he reveals that the Gauteng government has misspent R1.2 billion on ICU units that are still nowhere near close to completion.

In May 2020, Gauteng health authorities opted to use alternative building technology (ABT) to construct the new ICU facilities, instead of refurbishing existing units.

Heywood says this was against the advice of medical experts, hospital administrators, and high care specialists.

Officials commissioned 1,400 extra ICU beds using ABT construction at four Gauteng hospitals: 500 beds at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital; 300 at George Mukhari; 300 at Kopanong hospital; and 200 beds at Jubilee District Hospital.

The use of ABT was intended to expedite the building process. However, months later, none of the four facilities is anywhere near completion.

According to Heywood, the Gauteng government has spent R870,000 per ICU bed, although the Covid-19 peak has now passed.

Heywood has written to the health MEC and the Gauteng Premier for a proper explanation for what has been described as wasteful expenditure.

The social justice activist says there are some questions about why Gauteng authorities insisted on using ABT suppliers and who the construction project may have benefitted.

At the time, health experts and medical intensivists warned against it. They argued for the refurbishing of existing ICUs, but the Gauteng government decided to go ahead.

Mark Heywood, Editor - Maverick Citizen

As we speak today, those four new ICU units... are still not complete and are not expected to be complete until the end of November. They have cost R1.2 billion even though they are incomplete.

Mark Heywood, Editor - Maverick Citizen

They probably won't be needed because the surge for which they were being built is now a month or six weeks past.

Mark Heywood, Editor - Maverick Citizen

Although they have built the space, the type of technology they have used is not suitable to be repurposed for other health needs.

Mark Heywood, Editor - Maverick Citizen

The question is what type of reasoning is behind this. There are certainly some big question marks about the motive and who is benefiting from these things.

Mark Heywood, Editor - Maverick Citizen

Listen to Mark Heywood in conversation with Koketso Sachane:


29 September 2020 6:16 PM
Tags:
Gauteng government
Gauteng Health Department
Mark Heywood
Daily Maverick
ICU beds
Maverick Citizen
Covid-19 field hospitals
Covid-19 ICU units

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