Gauteng Doctor

Paediatrician Dr. Tim de Maayer wrote an open letter to the Gauteng health department. Photos: Facebook

Gauteng Doctor suspended after open letter on state of Rahima Moosa hospital

A Gauteng doctor was suspended after an open letter. A petition for the withdrawal of his suspension has gained momentum.

Gauteng Doctor

Paediatrician Dr. Tim de Maayer wrote an open letter to the Gauteng health department. Photos: Facebook

A Gauteng doctor who publicly spoke out against the state of Gauteng healthcare facilities has been suspended.


Paediatrician Dr. Tim de Maayer wrote an open letter to the Gauteng health department, stating that the “horrendous conditions in our public hospitals” contribute to children’s deaths.

De Maayer was placed on precautionary suspension on Thursday by the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in Johannesburg, where he works.

Gauteng Health MEC, Nomathemba Mokgethi, reportedly said on Friday she is in talks with management at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.

A spokesperson for the Health MEC, Kwara Kekana, said they acknowledge the challenges in the system.

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Gauteng Doctor suspended after open letter on state of Rahima Moosa hospital
The Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital Photo: Facebook


“The MEC will be engaging with hospital management and other parties concerned on the matter. The Gauteng Department of Health once again acknowledges the issues previously raised by Dr. De Maayer.

“The department concedes that there are challenges within the health system in the province and in the country in general which require multifaceted interventions.

“The Department of Health in Gauteng remains committed to tackling these challenges while continuing to render services to millions of patients annually.”

Kwara Kekana


A petition opposing the suspension stated that the paediatrician was “suspended for sticking up for the babies and children of Rahima Moosa”. The petition already has more than 20 000 signatures.

Here are the highlights of his open letter:


“Today I counselled two mothers, informing them that our resuscitation measures had been in vain.

“I wish you could be there to see the pain and grief that these parents and their families go through.

“Children are dying and the horrendous conditions in our public hospitals are contributing to their deaths.

“I wish you could come to our unit and see doctors trying to intubate children and administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation by their mobile phone’s torch, as the power has failed … again… Or the cold neonate whose incubator went off with the loss of power (from load shedding) and did not keep him warm.

“How about excluding a mother-and-child hospital from your load shedding schedule? Our generators are unfortunately inadequately sized to supply the hospital.

“I wish you could come and explain to parents that their child needs an urgent computerised tomography scan of the brain but he’s going to have to wait, since our scanner has been broken for nearly three months, Chris Hani Baragwanath is overflowing, and Charlotte Maxeke has had crucial parts of its scanner stolen.

“He ended up waiting for 48 hours, when the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital managed to assist.

“I wish you would come and look at the toilets when the water has been off because the local water reservoir was running low.

“Or, even better, come and see how hospital-acquired infections spread like wildfire through the neonatal ward because the taps are dry, and washing your hands while lifting a five-litre water container after examining each child is just not feasible.

“No, scrap that. Please come out of your ivory towers and come and use our lidless toilets. (There is one for fathers on the ground floor; the rest are off limits to men.)”

Dr. Tim de Maayer


More from his letter:

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“I could go on, but want to pose some questions to you:

  • Would you admit your child to this hospital?
  • Would you trust the overburdened and burnt-out healthcare staff to look after your little one in their hour of greatest need?
  • And if you wouldn’t, how do you manage to come to work every day, fail at your job of ensuring basic healthcare for the people you serve and still sleep at night?

“Having worked in the public sector for 21 years, I can tell you frankly: things are falling apart.

If your healthcare workers are the centre of providing care, we cannot hold. Things are going backward, fast. The care that is being provided in your less than glittering hospitals is getting worse every day.

“And before you ask, yes, these issues have been raised with management repeatedly, including two reports on the critical state of the neonatal wards and obstetric services in 2016 and 2021, and a more recent letter on 11 April 2022 detailing the disastrous state of the hospital.”

Click here for the complete open letter.