Overworked junior doctors at the casualty unit of the South Rand Hospital in Johannesburg South are struggling to treat emergency patients in the face of shortages of basic equipment and drugs.

Most of the time there are only two Community Service doctors running the casualty on 24-hour shifts.

They see more than 100 patients a day but don’t have essential supplies like saline water for rehydration, or blood gas cartridges for diagnoses. They have sometimes even run out of paper for the ECG machines.

And yesterday the x-ray machine was out of order.

They have also run out of Panado and Brufen syrup, and other basic drugs, including Maxalon for nausea.

Seriously ill or injured patients often have to be sent to other hospitals, and other patients will wait many hours to be seen by a doctor.

The extremely long shifts by junior doctors without proper equipment is endangering the lives of emergency patients at this hospital.

I have written to Professor Mac Lukhele, the Acting Head of the Gauteng Health Department, to intervene as soon as possible to rectify this unacceptable situation at a busy hospital.

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