Complaints over lack of space, shelter and seating for day hospital patients

Patients waiting outside the Mitchell’s Plain day hospital in Eastridge.

There’s not enough space, shelter or seating for patients waiting to be seen at the Mitchell’s Plain day hospital in Eastridge, according to a local pastor.

Pastor Dean Ramjoomia complained to health authorities about conditions at the hospital after he took pictures and videos of patients crowding together outside, with apparently little enforcement of physical distancing regulations.

Pastor Ramjoomia said a meeting with the hospital’s facility manager to discuss the issue had been postponed because of the move to level-4 lockdown. He was unhappy about that, he said, because the matter needed urgent attention.

“This is a direct violation of the right to dignity and respect of the people concerned. It is outlined in your Patient Charter and the Batho Pele principles. Staff at this facility had them stand out in the heat, rain and cold weather for hours on end before patients are allowed access to the facility for either collecting medication, seeing a doctor or for any other services they might have,” he said in an email to health officials.

“Patients should be allowed to sit on chairs with dignity and under temporary covering which could also be provided,” he said.

Provincial Department of Health spokeswoman Monique Johnstone said the hospital management had addressed the issues with Pastor Ramjoomia in a recent meeting.

She said the hospital had an appointment system and there was no need for patients to stand outside in the rain if they simply stuck to their given appointment times.

“We encourage our clients to contact the facility telephonically to schedule an appointment to avoid standing in the rain and possibly risk contracting Covid-19 in the queue near a crowded setting, especially as we are in the third Covid-19 wave, where protocols such as social distancing and mask wearing have been put in place at the facility to prevent the spread of infection of this deadly virus,” said Ms Johnstone.