Power cuts put healthcare services at risk

Power cuts put healthcare services at risk

By France Nyaka, 21 February 2017, ann7.com

The Hospital Association of South Africa (Hasa) has called on the provincial government to ensure that the lives of patients at hospitals and clinics, especially in Emalahleni and neighbouring areas, are not at risk.

Hasa voiced the concern following the notice by Eskom to switch off power supply at health institutions due to their unpaid outstanding electricity accounts.

On Friday, The New Age visited the Korenhof building in Beatty Street in Emalahleni and discovered scores of people who were in need of government services including some at home affairs being turned away due to the unavailability of electricity.

A security guard who wanted to remain anonymous said: “We have been instructed to prevent people from entering the government offices by management after the municipality cut off the power supply because the client did not pay.

For now, it is still unclear when the power will be restored and allow people to get services.” A few days ago, the municipality announced that it is owed about R1bn by government departments, churches, business and households and promised to switch off their electricity supply until the accounts are up to date.

Hasa’s Kerry Simpson said the government needed to act swiftly because the use of back-up generators at hospitals would not render effective services. “Hasa notes with grave concern the announcement of power cuts by the power utility at Doornpoort, Churchill, Kwa Guqa, Emalahleni and Ermelo.

That may seriously affect private and public hospitals,” Simpson said. “It is a matter therefore of urgency that the government acts through its relevant agencies to restore power to affected hospitals to ensure the provision of healthcare is not compromised.”

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