When the Minister in the Presidency for Performance, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation paid a surprise visit to the Mitchells Plain Community Health Centre on Tuesday, he instructed nursing staff to attend to elderly patients who had been waiting in long queues for over three hours.
Minister Jeff Radebe, accompanied by Western Cape Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, went to the facility unannounced to monitor service delivery as part of his department’s mandate to notch up service delivery of front desk services in the public sector.
Shortly after arriving, the Minister interacted with patients in the trauma unit and those that were waiting to be attended to in the reception area.
After approaching a few clients, he spoke to a woman who complained that her mother-in-law, a 79-year-old pensioner, had been waiting for service for hours without getting attended to.
After lending his ear, Minister Radebe immediately asked nurses to wheel the lady, who had an amputated leg and sitting in a wheelchair, to the treatment room.
He issued the same instruction about other elderly patients.
Speaking to journalists after taking a walk through the health centre, the Minister said while there were still challenges with regards to queue management that still needed attention, he was happy with how the facility was being managed.
This was a follow-up visit since his department’s last door stop at the facility in 2013.
“I think there is very good management of this facility. Since the department came in 2013, there is some improvement of what needs to be done in order to ensure that our people can be treated with dignity.
“I think what still remains a challenge is the queue management as we have heard old ladies complaining that they have been here for more than three hours without being attended to,” the Minister said.
The Minister also said that the centre’s management complained about people coming from outside Mitchells Plain to get treatment at the facility, which is said to be causing long queues.
He said staff attitude towards patients also needed to be improved.
An issue that was also picked up from the 2013 visit was the lack of signage directing people to the facility, something the Minister said had been resolved.
Progress in Nyanga health facility
After spending time in Mitchells Plain, the Minister moved on to the Nyanga Community Health Centre, where he was very satisfied with what he saw.
This is a facility where in the previous visit in 2013, there were serious health problems like a lack of ventilation, signage, children’s vaccines, staff shortages and that there was only one person responsible for cleaning.
All the problems have since been resolved, the Minister said.
One 92-year-old patient went as far as telling the Minister that the service and care she received from the medical staff made her feel like a 22-year-old girl.
After the visit, the Minister said he was happy with the progress that the facility had made.
“I am completely satisfied about the professionalism of the medical staff and all the support staff that work here.
“In terms of waiting times, there are no major problems. I am told that a patient is attended to within 20 to 30 minutes after arrival, and it takes between two to two and-a- half hours from the time the patient arrives until the patient leaves, which means that the system here is working very well. So a green light for that,” he said.
He said overall, both visits indicated that the initial visits had a positive impact on service delivery.
“Our purpose as the department is to make sure that the programme of government that is indicated in the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) is to hold people accountable for the targets that they have set for themselves,” he said.
Source : SAnews.gov.za