Poor service

Najuwa Lakay, Rocklands

On Tuesday April 26 my dad went to collect his heart medication at Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre (CHC), formerly known as the day hospital.

He had had a heart attack and was admitted to Groote Schuur Hospital about a month ago, and then referred to the CHC.

The doctor who prescribed the medication said that he is a chronic patient and could not go without the tablets.

He was at the CHC at 7am and the nurse took his blood, tested his blood sugar levels and checked his blood pressure.

After several hours they discovered that his folder was missing.

When they found it two hours later they sent him to the pharmacy, where he was number 300 in the queue.

Eventually when the pharmacy called my dad he could not get his script.

The script that I had given to the nurse went missing.

At this point my dad had been sitting for hours without medication, a script and a folder due to the staff’s negligence.

It is disgusting how they treat old people at the day hospital.

When they checked his vitals again, his blood pressure was high and he had not had anything to eat, not expecting to have stayed in hospital all day.

This has to stop.

It has been going on for years and no one does anything.

Someone needs to be held responsible for losing my dad’s script and making him sit from 7am until 5pm for nothing.

I wonder if your staff would treat their own family like they treat Mitchell’s Plain’s senior citizens.

Monique Johnstone, principal communications officer for the Western Cape department of health and wellness Klipfontein and Mitchell’s Plain Substructure, responds:

We would like to acknowledge that this should not have happened as the department of health prides itself in providing a quality and timely service to clients.

We have a few instances of misplaced folders at the facility and this is mainly due to the large volumes of folders that are kept and processed daily at the facility.

We had a recent upgrade in the reception area, but the number of clients accessing the facility and for whom new folders are opened daily is growing exponentially. To combat this, we invest significant time in culling and archiving inactive folders to create space for active folders.

We also cannot rule out human error, but this occurs in a very small percentage of instances and can mainly be attributed to the turnover of staff at the reception area.

We appointed 10 administrators and Premier’s Advancement of Youth (PAY) project interns on Friday April 1. Induction of these junior staff members is ongoing to ensure that they are competent in ensuring smooth operations in the reception area.

The department has guidelines in place to ensure that the elderly and frail are prioritised at all public facilities.

As Mr Lakay falls in this category, we acknowledge that the staff that dealt with him on the said day should have dealt with the matter more promptly and should have explored different means to ensure that his experience of care was more pleasant.

We are constantly giving attention to and addressing staff attitudes so that they embody and live the values of the department.

Training interventions are identified for staff members for poor performance.

Complaints are also discussed at management and staff meetings to alert staff to these complaints and to address staff attitudes.

Mr Lakay falls under the vintage category of clients.

All these clients’ chronic medications are home-delivered if they are stable to receive their chronic medication at home.

His new prescription has been processed and his next medication date will be delivered to his home on Wednesday May 25.

We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Mr Lakay for the negative experience on Tuesday April 26 and trust that moving forward, he will have a much more pleasant experience at the health facility.

We encourage clients accessing services to bring a snack when visiting the healthcare facility, as there are many people accessing services and their wait could be longer than expected.

Your health matters to the department and any concerns about services at Mitchell’s Plain CHC can be addressed by contacting the following people:

  • Facility manager Amanda Hansen on 021 684 1400/03 or Amanda.Hansen@westerncape.gov.za
  • The pharmacy manager Sulaiman Noordien on 021 684 1410, 021 377/1233, or Sulaiman.Noordien@westerncape.gov.za
  • Reception manager Nazier Meyer on 021 684 1418/7, or Nazier.Meyer@westerncape.gov.za
  • Administration officer Jamie-Lee Baker on 021 684 1403 or Jamie-Lee.Baker@westerncape.gov.za