Johannesburg – The new Natalspruit Hospital, which recently opened its doors, is set to be the future of Gauteng health.

The hospital, which cost R1.7 billion to construct in a period of eight years, is furnished with 821 beds and spans an area of over 7 000m2. It offers services such as family medicine, 24-hour casualty, medico-legal, obstetrics and gynaecological, mortuary, radiography, and an eye nose and throat clinic.

It will take referrals from clinics, community health care centres and district hospitals, serving Thokoza, Vosloorus, Katlehong, Magugala Heights, Zonkizikwe, Phola Park, Palm Ridge, Eden Park, Germiston and Leondale.

Sonto Daniels, of Vosloorus extension 9, says she is happy to have a state-of-the-art hospital at her door step, adding that she will start taking her hypertension treatment again, after she stopped for almost a year.

Seventy-year-old Daniels and hundreds other residents of Vosloorus and neighbouring locations, on Thursday, gathered in a tent outside the newly built Natalspruit Hospital, in Vosloorus, for its official opening.

She told SAnews that it was not by choice that she stopped taking her medication, but because of distance and cost.

“I used to take a taxi from Vosloorus to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, and then take another one from there to the old Natalspruit Hospital, to get my treatment. It was costly for me,” said Daniels.

“It became too much for me, I ended up not going anymore, it was too far,” she added.

Now that the hospital — which started operating early last week – is a mere walking distance from her home, Daniels said she had no reason to skip treatment.

“I am happy because I can now jut cross the street to the hospital; I don’t even have to carry a lunch box,” Daniels said.

Her friend, who introduced herself to SAnews as MaMofokeng, and also lives close to the new hospital, said she was particularly happy that she will not spend on transport to get health services.

The 58-year-old MaMofokeng, who lives with her three unemployed children and grandchildren, said she was meant to go for a check up on 3 September at the old hospital.

“I am happy because I won’t take a taxi, I’ll just walk…. I will be entering in that building for the first time next week. I can’t wait,” said MaMofokeng.

Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, said the equipment found in Natalspruit Hospital was previously found in private hospitals only.

“This is a great day for us and the people of Ekurhuleni, because at long last, what we have been waiting for is here,” said the Minister.

The hospital also has six operating theatres, a mammography unit — which will help in speeding up the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Minister Motsoaledi said he will make sure that health infrastructure projects were complete within three years of construction.

“The next hospital that we are going to build will be Soshanguve Hospital in Pretoria, and we are going to take 36 months to build it… nothing more,” said the Minister.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura echoed the Ministe, saying no additions will be made to the initial budget of the coming infrastructure programmes.

“Because the longer the project runs, the more expensive it becomes,” said the Premier.

The Premier said Natalspruit was the best hospital in Gauteng and termed it ‘hospital of Gauteng’s future’.

“It does not use the old filing system but the modern e-filing system, I am sure people will stop complaining that they can’t be helped because they lost files,” said the Premier.

The Premier reiterated what he pronounced in his State of The Province Address (SoPA) about revitalisation of township economy.

“This is proof enough that we were serious as the provincial government when we said we are going to fast track service delivery, including infrastructure of schools and other hospitals yet to be built,” said Premier Makhura.

He said about 37 clinics were linked to the hospital and pleaded with the public to continue using their local clinics as they would need referrals from them to the hospital.

He pleaded with residents to take care of the hospital as it will provide them and the future generations, with good service.

Infrastructure Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza said 4 950 jobs were created during its construction, and 16 local contractors were employed on different trades.

“… and almost 700 people from the surrounding communities underwent skills training and development,” MEC Mayathula-Khoza said.

She added that the construction and handover of the new hospital is a milestone in the creation of a better life for all Gauteng residents, through the modernisation of health infrastructure solutions.

Health MEC in Gauteng, Qedani Mahlangu, was also amongst political principals at the official opening.