District hospitals performing well

Author: Zodidi Dano

DESPITE ongoing complaints about treatment in government hospitals, a recent study on service delivery showed all provincial district hospitals in the Western Cape were compliant and were performing well against most standards. The report, which was released by the Public Service Commissioner (PSC), was based on a monitoring and evaluation study conducted at all 33 district hospitals in the province. The overall score was above 79 percent. The study, which was finalised last month, showed that the majority of hospital staffers at provisional district hospitals were courteous and respectful. The budget management for the 2015/16 year showed the majority of hospitals either overspent or underspent beyond a two percent threshold set by the department and the Treasury. The overall result for this principle was an average of 62.06 percent – meaning that hospitals were partially compliant.

Bryné Joynerwood-Ganief, deputy director of the PSC, said the study found that the complaints were only isolated incidents and that overall the hospitals were well-run. The study assessors spent a day at each of the district hospitals to observe, scrutinise hospital books, interview patients and visitors as well as the staff. A major deficiency in the system was the fact that hospital boards were not fully established at the majority of the hospitals, which impacted negatively on the level of public participation in policy making and accountability. Health Committees at Eerste Rivier District Hospital, Khayelitsha District Hospital and Mitchells Plain District Hospital all agreed with the report.

The three hospitals often come under fire for alleged maltreatment and understaffing, but got stellar scores in the study. Eerste Rivier District Hospital scored 80 percent, Khayelitsha District Hospital scored 83 percent and Mitchells Plain District Hospital 82 percent. Levona Coerecuis of the Eerste Rivier Health Committee said while the hospital was compliant and performing well it still faced challenges of long waiting periods and understaffing, especially at the Trauma Unit. She said there is not enough staff and people spend hours waiting for treatment. We need a doctor who is just going to deal with minor cases at the Trauma Unit so that people are not always sidelined when more serious cases arise. Mzanywa Ndibongo of the Khayelitsha Health Forum said he also agreed with the study. He said the only time that we have problems is on weekends when there are a lot of cases and fewer beds. We need more staff and beds. Jogerah Esau of Mitchells Plain said a new system for appointments put in place at the local district hospital helped tackle issues of queues.

Source: Cape Argus