Clin­ics must be first port of call

Vuk'uzenzele - - Health - More Mat­shediso

A RE­FER­RAL SYS­TEM is in place to en­sure South Africa’s pub­lic health­care sys­tem func­tions op­ti­mally.

Your lo­cal clinic must be your first port of call when ac­cess­ing pub­lic health­care ser­vices.

Free State Health MEC Montsheng Tsiu is of the opin­ion that too of­ten peo­ple go di­rectly to a hos­pi­tal when in fact they could have been as­sisted at their lo­cal clinic.

She said the first stop for an ill per­son should be at a pri­mary health­care fa­cil­ity like a clinic. This will be fol­lowed by a re­fer­ral to a sec­ondary health­care fa­cil­ity (dis­trict hos­pi­tal) if nec­es­sary. In ex­treme cases, a re­fer­ral to a re­gional or ter­tiary hos­pi­tal will be given.

MEC Tsiu said clin­ics are built within lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties so that peo­ple can eas­ily ac­cess health­care ser­vices. Nurses are trained pro­fes­sion­als who are able to as­sist pa­tients with many ill­nesses.

“If the nurses have screened you and see that you a need a higher level of care, they will make a re­fer­ral for you to go to a hos­pi­tal,” she ex­plained.

“But peo­ple still be­lieve that be­ing checked by a doc­tor is al­ways nec­es­sary. They need to know that nurses are trained and able to ex­am­ine a pa­tient holis­ti­cally and come up with a treat­ment plan that suits the level of care needed.”

MEC Tsiu said some­times peo­ple do not first seek help at a clinic but head straight to a ter­tiary hos­pi­tal sim­ply be­cause it is lo­cated within a lo­cal com­mu­nity. She cites Pelonomi Hos­pi­tal as an ex­am­ple.

“Be­cause every­one has a right to health­care, we do not turn peo­ple away, even when they have not fol­lowed the right pro­ce­dures. This con­trib­utes to many of the chal­lenges fac­ing the health sec­tor,” she said.

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