Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: SIYABULELA DUDA
Minister of Health Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: SIYABULELA DUDA

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says there are at least 15 oncology machines worth R40m each waiting to be used at public hospitals — but he is still looking for specialists to operate them.

"One of the pilot programmes of the National Health Insurance is to clear the oncology backlog‚ especially in KwaZulu-Natal‚" he said on Thursday.

Some provinces have no oncology specialists (KwaZulu-Natal now has just one to service 1.3-million cancer patients) to use the linear accelerators collecting dust in state hospitals.

"We will rely on private oncologists to come and use the equipment. Steve Biko Academic has got more oncology equipment‚ and linear accelerators‚ than any hospital in the country‚ private or public. There are four bunkers (for the radiation machines) there‚ and the fifth bunker is being finished now.

"Charlotte Maxeke [in Johannesburg] has four‚ Groote Schuur and Tygerberg hospitals [in the Western Cape] have three each. And two in Addington in KwaZulu-Natal. We have repaired the old one; it is working and a new one is being tested. All that is needed is oncologists‚" said Motsoaledi.

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