Doc­tors close doors on af­ter-hours ser­vice

Grocott's Mail - - NEWS - By KATHRYN CLEARY

Sev­eral pri­vate health­care prac­ti­tion­ers in the Gra­ham­stown (Makhanda) area have put a stop to their af­ter­hours care ser­vices. This leaves res­i­dents lit­tle choice but to visit their lo­cal pub­lic hos­pi­tal for any af­ter­hours emer­gency. With the Eastern Cape suf­fer­ing from a lack of health­care re­sources, lo­cal res­i­dents are con­cerned about their op­tions for ad­e­quate care.

One Gra­ham­stown (Makhanda) pri­vate prac­tise is­sued a let­ter to their pa­tients stat­ing that they will no longer of­fer af­ter-hours care as of 1 Septem­ber. Their rea­son­ing be­hind the de­ci­sion in­cludes the low num­ber of gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers in the area given the grow­ing de­mo­graphic of pri­vate health­care users.

An anony­mous source from Set­tlers Hos­pi­tal stated that their pri­vate doc­tors had also halted af­ter-hours care, mean­ing that pri­vate pa­tients would have to wait in ca­su­alty for med­i­cal emer­gen­cies.

A re­cent post on Gra­ham­stown (Makhanda) so­cial me­dia de­tailed an ac­count of a pri­vate pa­tient wait­ing for over 10 hours in ca­su­alty to see a doc­tor as a re­sult of no pri­vate af­ter-hours care ser­vices.

Lo­cal prac­ti­tioner, Dr Dario Berenisco spoke to Gro­cott's Mail about this is­sue. Berenisco's prac­tise will con­tinue to of­fer af­ter-hours care ser­vices, but only to their ded­i­cated pa­tients.

“We are go­ing to cover our reg­u­lar pa­tients that are reg­is­tered with the prac­tise, em­pha­sis on our pa­tients and reg­u­lar pa­tients, not pa­tients that once saw us five years ago and have an­other doc­tor that they nor­mally at­tend.”

Though Berenisco will con­tinue to see pa­tients af­ter-hours, he ex­pressed con­cerns.

“I think there’s been an abuse of af­ter-hours care”, he said. “I think peo­ple call out doc­tors un­nec­es­sar­ily af­ter-hours for things that could have been kept for rea­son­able hours.”

“I think that’s caused alot of frus­tra­tion around gen­eral prac­ti­tion­ers.”

Pri­vate pa­tients that do not have ac­cess to af­ter-hours care are re­quested to visit Set­tlers Hos­pi­tal.

I think there’s been an abuse of af­ter-hours care.

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