Special pharmacy queue

Pharmacist assistant Nomfundo Languza-Bafo issues a queuing ticket to Geraldine Allie, from Woodlands.

The elderly, pregnant women, physically disabled, children under the age of 2, and patients who have a medical emergency with a fast track note written by the doctor will be helped first at the Mitchell’s Plain community health centre’s (CHC) pharmacy in Eastridge.

The provincial Department of Health and the Department of the Premier (DoTP) have rolled out a new electronic pharmacy queueing ticket system, to improve the experience of approximately 13000 patients, who collect medication a month.

Sister Zethu Xapile, primary health care manager for the department, said the new ticket system would help alleviate waiting times for categorised patients.

“The new ticket system will assist the pharmacist at the facility to track and identify the status of patients and to allow them to clearly determine which patient requires fast-tracking to avoid long waiting times,” she said.

Ms Xapile said the pharmacy dispenses medication to about 600 patients a day.

Due to these figures they have implemented the new ticketing system to improve patients’ experience at the pharmacy.

A queue marshal will be present to collect the folders every 30 minutes from patients, who present to the pharmacy area, and generate a ticket for each person according to their health status.

Each patient will be given a tracking number which will be displayed on a screen and also called out by the electronic voice system when the medication is ready for collection.

Ms Xapile said in the past patients had to listen to their names being verbally called out by the queue marshal, which often resulted in people not being able to hear or identify when they had to collect their medication.

This potentially led to many people becoming frustrated, as they were not certain when they were going to be assisted.

With this new system, patients are able to track their turn in the queue.

“Together with the previous introduction of the electronic e-reception, we hope to constantly find ways of improving our patients’ experience at the facility and find ways to alleviate and reduce waiting times,” said Ms Xapile.