Transforming Public Clinics Into Ideal Clinics

Overcrowding and long queuesare a common occurrence at public clinics, and in some instances patients are forced to go home without receiving the help they need.

For most patients, it usually takes five hours to a whole day to get services.

But this could soon be a thing of the past, thanks to Government’s plan to transform Public Clinics into Ideal Clinics.

President Jacob Zuma last month launched the second component of the government-led Operation Phakisa, which seeks to transform all public sector clinics into ideal clinics, which provide good quality care to all communities.

The launch of Operation Phakisa 2 follows the launch of the first phase of Operation Phakisa in July, which focuses on unlocking the economic potential of South Africa’s oceans.

In the latest leg of the initiative, government says the public health sector would improve the quality of care provided in the 3 500 primary health care facilities across the country.

The work involves transforming the existing clinics and health care centres into ideal clinics, which will be used by all South Africans, out of choice, due to the enhanced quality of services they will provide.

Making Ideal Clinic a reality

The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and the National Department of Health convened a six-week Operation Phakisa laboratory to devise ways and means of making the ideal clinic concept a reality.

A team of 164 senior managers from the national, provincial and local government spheres, as well as experts from the private sector participated in the Operation Phakisa laboratory.

The work of Operation Phakisa: Ideal Clinic Initiative, was organized into eight workstreams focusing on the different building blocks of an ideal clinic capable of delivering good quality health services.

Attention is paid to service delivery, waiting times, human resources, infrastructure, financial management as well as supply chain management.

The Infrastructure Team has developed measures to ensure that by 2017, most of the public sector primary care facilities will have world class infrastructure and are consistently maintained.

The Human Resources for Health Workstream has looked at developing measures to ensure that the necessary staff with the right skills is in place to properly deliver the service package in every primary care facility.

President Zuma says South Africans should be in a position to define an ideal clinic as a health facility that opens on time and in accordance to its set operating hours. Clinics should also not close until the last patient has been assisted, even if this is beyond the normal closing hours.

“It [ideal clinic] is staffed by health care providers who treat people with dignity and observe the Batho Pele principles of access, consultation, courtesy, information, service standards, openness and transparency, redress and value for money.

“The ideal clinic will provide community-based health promotion and disease prevention programmes in collaboration with the community. It is very clean, promotes hygiene and takes all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of diseases.”

President Zuma adds that an ideal clinic is one that all South Africans can be proud of and call it “our own clinic, rather than a government clinic or a state health facility”.

The President says he will take a personal interest in monitoring progress with the implementation of Operation Phakisa on ideal clinics.

He will receive regular progress reports from Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and other Ministers involved in the initiative, with a view to dealing with any challenges that may arise during the implementation.

Obstacles in the health sector

Meanwhile, Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi acknowledged that there are two obstacles in the health sector highlighting exorbitant prices charged in the private health care sector as being the main problem.

“Even people who are calling themselves middle class are no longer able to afford private health care in the country, even those with medical aids will notice that over the last 10 years, their premiums are increasing but their benefits are dropping,” Minister Motsoaledi said.

The second obstacle is the quality of health care within the public health system.

The department has listed things needed to make all 3 500 clinics to become ideal clinics. About 184 elements and 10 components were identified for an ideal clinic concept that will satisfy everybody.

“We have put things like administration, finances, security, pharmaceuticals, community structures…all those are components.

“When the President said the next Phakisa after the environment would go to health, we then said the Ideal Clinic is the best. We’ve got 10 such clinics in the country and we’ve been working on them for the past 18 months,” Minister Motsoaledi said.

Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Buti Manamela, said that through Operation Phakisa, government is developing detailed delivery plans for achieving national priorities in various sectors, starting with the ocean economy and now the transformation of clinics into ideal facilities.

“We are putting in place the required monitoring and problem resolution mechanisms to ensure that the implementation of the required changes do take place. The Operation Phakisa plan process is very thorough, open and participative,” he said. –

Source :