Operation to improve health facilities in Gauteng

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Johannesburg - The Gauteng Health Department has launched an operation to deal with the challenges faced at health facilities in order to deliver the best accessible health care to residents.

Launching operation 'Kuyasheshwa -La' on Thursday, Gauteng MEC for Health and Social Development, Qedani Mahlangu said it would be made up of a team that will be responsible for planning, monitoring and implementation of the daily operations at the health facilities.

The team, which will start on 1 July, has been given six months to deliver change in hospitals.

"The team will be working in the regional, district, and central hospital looking at the core cause of the problems in the hospitals. We want to stabilise the system and ensure that patients are treated the way they deserve, whether they are poor or not," Ms Mahlangu said.

Recently, the MEC visited various provincial health facilities where she discovered a number of challenges affecting service delivery.

Some of the challenges included the turning away of patients from health facilities, poor environmental conditions in faculties for patients and staff, failure to procure adequate medical equipment, overcrowding due to high patients volumes and burden of diseases as well as interruption of supply in medication.

Through operation Kuyasheshwa-La, the team will ensure that the health faculties have proper staffing levels, improvement of patients care, stabilisation of drug supply, improvement of queue management, rapid patient registration, efficient and secure patient file management and prevention of patients from being turned away.

The other areas, which need immediate attention and strengthening, are excellent customer service and improved facility management and maintenance.

"It is unacceptable that a patient arrives at 6am and only leaves in the afternoon, we need to improve the queue management system. Patients should leave the hospitals at reasonable times and be given prescribed medication to last them three months instead of coming back to the hospital within a short space of time.

"The buying of equipment is not up to standard in some hospitals and we want to ensure the stabilisation of drug supply and ensure that clinics don't operate without essential drug and equipment like gloves," she said.

She also warned health professionals, who come to work with an attitude and have no time for patients that she will be working with the Democratic Nurses Association of South Africa to ensure that those professionals are dealt with accordingly.

"We expect the health professionals to know the dos and don'ts and not have an attitude towards the patients using 'unconducive conditions' of the hospital as an excuse.

"I'm not interested in dealing with peoples' egos they should get off their high horses and do their work," Ms Mahlangu warned.