MEC seeks Khayelitsha solutions
Staff are under extremely pressurised conditions, with the hospital at a 130% occupancy rate. More staff are being appointed soon
THE Western Cape MEC for health Dr Nomafrench Mbombo yesterday visited the Emergency Centre at Khayelitsha Hospital unannounced and established that staff worked under extremely pressurised conditions.
Mbombo visited the hospital in response to pictures on social media of an overcrowded Emergency Centre in Khayelitsha earlier this week. The visit was to see for herself and assess the services provided to patients.
“I received numerous complaints from various members of the Khayelitsha community, which is worrying and that is why I had to go and see it for myself.
“The pictures received were of patients being cared for on mattresses on the floor, and an overcrowded mental health unit. I visited the Emergency Centre and the surgical unit as those were the services from where most complaints were generated.” Mbombo said.
She said they were aware the Khayelitsha District Hospital served a large surrounding community and experienced high service pressure in the Emergency Centre with high volumes of patients with injuries due to interpersonal violence.
The hospital has 300 beds and was running at a 130% occupancy level at present. The purpose of yesterday’s visit was to find solutions to the problems which the hospital faced. During the visit, Mbombo allowed space for the staff present to make input to matters of concern to both patients and staff.
Staff worked under extremely pressurised conditions and that is why it was important to find a way to improve the conditions for both staff and patients.
“Patients accessing healthcare through Emergency are triaged according to medical emergencies. So patients with lifethreatening conditions (red cases) and injuries are seen first. This results in long waiting times for patients needing less urgent medical attention.
We are urging patients to access our services correctly by using their Primary Health Care facilities in order to reduce service pressure and waiting times in the Emergency Centre. “I would like to emphasise that all patients are important to us and that we aim to attend to their medical needs as best as possible.
“We are actively working towards finding solutions to improve our service to the community of Khayelitsha.”
The hospital was in the process of appointing more staff to alleviate the pressures in the Emergency Centre and Psychiatric Unit. Six posts have been made available for assistance with psychiatric patients, and the appointment process was underway.
A new ward would also be operationalised as well as a CT Scan suite, which would further alleviate the pressures on the Emergency Centre. A business case to have an onsite blood bank at the hospital had been submitted for approval.
This would bring much relief in assisting with the turnaround for blood results, which was found to be a major contributor to the amount of patients waiting for treatment. This would aid in reducing the waiting time and reducing the pressure on the Emergency Centre.
“I would like to urge patients and service users to please make use of the complaints management system available. This is an important mechanism to improve on the service we offer.”
Residents with complaints can call the contact centre on 0860 142 142 or send a please call me at 079 769 1207.
This service is anonymous and puts callers in contact with facility management.
IN LIMBO: Primary healthcare facilities are being advised for the public until the pressure is removed.