Motsoaledi: KZN cancer crises due to procurement, not lack of doctors

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A cancer patient receives radiation treatment at a government cancer hospital in Agartala, the capital of northeastern state of Tripura on February 3, 2017, on the eve of World Cancer Day

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi is blaming procurement for the oncology crisis in KwaZUlu-Natal.

A report by the South African Human Rights Commission found that cancer patients at government facilities wait months for treatment.

The report also reveals that if cancer radiotherapy is the recommended course of treatment, patients admitted to hospitals in the province will have to wait another eight months – meaning they will wait 13 months after diagnosis before starting treatment.

The provincial health department has seen an exodus of experienced oncologists since it decided in 2012 not to pay a maintenance contract for two state-of-the-art cancer radiotherapy machines at its Addington Hospital in the province’s largest city of Durban.

READ: KZN doctors fight for better healthcare system

First to quit after 30 years of service was Professor Amo Jordaan, the head of oncology who was instrumental in obtaining the two Varian Rapid Arc Linear Accelerators, which cost R120-million to install at Addington. He quit in protest at the department’s failure to keep the machines running.

Currently, there isn't a single oncologist employed in Durban's public healthcare sector.

The last cancer specialist quit early in June.