Hospitals are already being affected by the effect of power cuts in some parts of the country.
Consequently, Gauteng hospitals and clinics have been hit by Eskom load-shedding in the past week, with some generators failing and operations being cancelled as full functions cannot take place even with generator power.
Helen Joseph Hospital suffered a failed generator in the Emergency Department which led to severe problems as x-rays could not be done and blood could not be processed.
At other hospitals, there is discomfort with dark corridors and elective surgery has been limited to some degree as there is a risk that the generators could fail.
At the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital surgeons are reluctant to do longer operations as the batteries on anaesthetic machines only last for 90 minutes.
Patient administration is affected as computers go down and manual systems have to be used instead.
I am concerned that some hospitals and clinics do not have enough diesel for long-term use of generators.
At Badirile clinic in Randfontein the diesel ran out and nurses were told to contribute their own money to buy diesel.
Diesel is expensive and the Department has not budgeted for it, so it will squeeze out other vitally needed expenditure.
Waiting lists for operations will lengthen and there will be a higher risk for patients if Eskom continues to fail in providing a reliable electricity supply.