CHRIS Hani Baragwanath Hospital has donated hundreds of beds to NGOs.

This comes after a photo showing the rusting beds, some from as long ago as the 1940s, outside the Soweto hospital went viral in May.

At the time, the health department said the beds were kept outside for the safety of patients and had been replaced by modern, height adjustable beds. At least 675 beds have been given away since last month.

DA shadow health MEC for Gauteng Jack Bloom said in a reply to queries, Health MEC Bandile Masuku said 1 000 beds had been stored outside since January. Bloom said various NGOs got 675 beds and the remaining 325 beds were destroyed.

Bloom said: “I suspect more beds could have been donated in good condition but deteriorated in the sun and rain. The department needs to look after all its assets and make plans to sell or donate anything it no longer finds useful.”

Hospital spokesman Nkosiyethu Mazibuko said the beds were not safe for patients as they could fall out of them. “We aim to improve the safety of our patients,” he said.

“Only registered NGOs with existing physical addresses received beds,” said Mazibuko.