Leratong hospital gets much-needed revamp

[Image] Krugersdorp’s Leratong Hospital will soon
be able to offer a much improved service. 

[Image] Not just the equipment and facilities,
but also the patient environment is
undergoing a revamp. 

[Image] Currently run down and neglected, the
Leratong Hospital serves residents of the
surrounding communities and informal
settlements.
(Images: Romaana Naidoo) 

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Romaana Naidoo

The derelict Leratong Hospital outside Krugersdorp, east of Johannesburg, has been earmarked for major renovations which will transform it into a top-class public health facility.

Located in the industrial area of Chamdor, the hospital, which already has a new reception area and trauma unit, will undergo further phased renovations in March at a cost of approximately R8-million (US$1.06-million).

Through partnerships with corporates and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Leratong Hospital will be revamped from top to bottom, ensuring patients have healthy, clean surroundings and ample facilities.

The upcoming renovation phase will form part of the hospital’s P3 Walk-in Casualty area.

Better care for patients

The renovations will be done with the help of the South African Medical and Education (SAME) Foundation, whose main function is to assist provincial health departments with medical equipment and infrastructure especially in relation to tuberculosis, HIV and trauma.

Dianne Pols, director of the SAME Foundation, says technology at Leratong is so behind, it’s unbelievable. “We work in crises situations when people can’t afford to better their conditions.” 

In July 2011, SAME Foundation renovated and re-equipped Leratong Hospital with top-of-the-range Welch Allyn diagnostic equipment from Germany. Currently it is the only hospital in the country, public or private, to use such equipment.

More beds, modern equipment

This revamp forms part of a three-phase project. 

On 16 May 2011 a ceremony was held for the renovations and equipping of the Leratong Hospital. Three months later, Gauteng MEC for Health and Social Development Ntombi Mekgwe officially opened the Emergency and Accident Unit.

Renovations of the unit included increasing the number of beds from 15 to 32.

All beds have diagnostic and monitoring equipment and, owing to the size of the resuscitation area, a central monitoring station has been installed to alert staff if any patient is in distress.

The reception area has also been restructured and refurbished. Because of the large volumes of people and patients using the hospital, it was vital to rearrange this section so that patients can be attended to efficiently, and sit in a comfortable environment while they wait for care.

Leratong Hospital mainly serves previously disadvantaged communities and has a bed capacity of 800. However, a lack of equipment means that not all beds are utilised. Currently 755 beds are in use.

The hospital serves mainly poor to middle-class communities in the surrounding area, which is densely populated with informal settlements.

Its key health challenges are HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and trauma, with violence off all kinds being a major contributing factor to the latter situation.

Leratong Hospital is known amongst emergency services personnel for its lack of sufficient equipment.