Dunoon residents protest over long queues and poor service at local clinic

Western Cape health department says a mobile clinic for medical collections, disease screenings and family planning is in the pipeline

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Community members marched to the Dunoon Community Health Clinic on Thursday to demand shorter queues and better service. Photo: Vincent Lali

Dozens of protesters marched in Dunoon, Cape Town, on Thursday to demand better service from their local health clinic. They also want the Western Cape health department to set up a mobile clinic.

“We want the nurses to treat sick residents immediately,” said Vuvu Mukumela, who led the march. “Nurses tell patients to return or force them to make an appointment for a later date even when they are critically ill.”

Mukumela said patients complained of long queues and waiting times even when they had an appointment.

She said a mobile clinic to distribute chronic medications was needed to “help reduce long queues and waiting times”.

Mukumela said nurses at the clinic were also very rude. “We want nurses to wear name tags so that we can report them to the senior management when they don’t do their jobs. Some residents won’t collect their medications because some nurses announce their sicknesses publicly.”

Sivuyile Malahleni, who joined the protest, said last week Tuesday, after nurses treated 80 patients, he was told to return the next morning. “I was number two in the line at 5:30am on Wednesday, but the nurses said they had lost my folder and had to make a new one. I only got medical attention at 2:30pm, after I complained to the management.”

Responding to GroundUp, clinic manager Ruben Christoffels urged patients to submit their complaints to management in a bid to improve service.

“We are busy establishing a wellness hub, but we are struggling to find suitable space for it at the Dunoon taxi rank.” The wellness hub will be for medical collection, chronic disease screening and family planning, he said.

He agreed it would reduce queues and waiting times.

Natalie Watlington, provincial health department spokesperson, said the long queues were often caused by patients missing appointments. “When patients do not show up for their appointments, they often present as walk-in patients on other days. We have an average of 80 missed appointments per day. This results in long queues.”

Watlington also said, “We are aware of the issue around the misfiling of patient folders. We have embarked on a reception project to improve the filing system to address this challenge.”

TOPICS:  Health

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