Public urged to use clinics

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pretoria - The North West Health and Social Development Department has urged the public to use public clinics to ease the high volumes of patients at hospitals.

The call follows an increasing number of patients visiting the hospitals with colds and fever, which could have been attended to and treated at a primary health level.

"Out of every 100 patients, only five need hospital intervention and 95 need the attention of a clinical nurse," said the department, adding that this cut into the time they could be dealing with potential emergency cases.

The department said the province had residential medical officers in community health centers that attend to more complicated illnesses or injuries, as well as scheduled medical officers stationed at the clinics every week.

"There is a referral system, which moves patients from clinics to hospitals as and when they need secondary or tertiary intervention. The health facilities also have an excellent and regular supply of all medication."

Over 200 community service nurses, who were released to do mandatory community service in clinics this year, have been appointed as professional nurses.

The department recommitted to continue responding faster to improve the health status of communities through implementation of integrated health programmes and providing accessible, equitable and affordable comprehensive primary health care service.

Earlier this year, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi also made the same call for patients with minor ailments to make use of the primary health care services as the first point of entry to reduce overload and waiting period at hospitals.