Dr Laurencia Fillis rolls up her sleeves to serve the Atlantis community
Wesfleur Hospital’s new acting Head is excited about the opportunity to serve the Atlantis community, which is very close to her heart. “I’m determined to deliver a good service to the Atlantis community. My focus will be on improving our service and systems to ensure we are person-centered and address our community’s needs as best as we can.”
Dr Earl Meyer, previous Manager Medical Services of Wesfleur Hospital, has finished his tenure at the hospital to take up an exciting international job opportunity. Dr Meyer devoted the past three years to serving the Atlantis community. We thank him for his significant contribution during a very tough period of COVID-19, improving access to radiology and supporting our service recovery.
Dr Fillis is a familiar face to the members of the community as she previously lived in Atlantis while being the Head of the Oral Health Department at Wesfleur. Her years of experience has brought about a proven and strong managerial track record. She also worked at Vanguard Community Health Centre and then Du Noon Community Health Centre with a large oral health service, where she has served for the past eight years. During this time she was involved in commissioning the new Du Noon CHC and supported the facility’s Maternity Obstetrics Unit (MOU) opening as an Acting Facility Manager.
Dr Fillis has most recently completed the Premier of the Western Cape’s values-based leadership development programme and believes that everyone deserves access to quality healthcare. She wants to improve the experience of people coming to Wesfleur Hospital. “We have heard the many suggestions and concerns from our community. I want to assure you that we are committed to our vision to see you, to listen to you, and to treat you with dignity and respect.”
This person-centred approach will be at the heart of the ongoing engagements with community representatives as part of the Atlantis Service Improvement Plan. “We have heard your concerns and we listened. We are exploring various ways to improve access to our services, as well as your health experience,” shares Dr Fillis. Since August 2022, our district health team has implemented several short to medium term interventions to improve patient experience. We are working hard to ensure that patients have access to an expanded package of primary health care at various access points in Atlantis and surrounds. Our goal of seeing the right patient at the right point of care is steadily being realised.
Interventions implemented to date:
Chronic Care Service Expansion
- In partnership with The City of Cape Town we are now able to provide stable Chronic Patient Care by appointment at Protea Park, 3 days per week (Monday, Thursday, and Friday) and Chronic medicine collection. These services have been well received and the number of clients accessing services has grown already in number with a total of 398 patients attending since October 2022. In January 2023, 286 patients attended Protea Park Clinic for this service.
- Improved appointment system at Wesfleur Hospital’s outpatients, Saxon Sea and Protea Park has reduced waiting times for planned chronic care.
- A total of nine medication collection points are now operational. More than 50% of our clients are now collecting their medication at these sites, meaning they are getting their medication closer to their homes and not needing to collect them at the hospital.
- The first Atlantis Community Oriented wellness centre was launched at the Med24 Building on 9 November 2022, which offers clients access to health screening, referral and health checks.
- Two additional Wellness Hubs are operating at the Witsand Resource Centre (Tuesdays) and at the Castle in Pella (Wednesdays) where clients can access a variety of health services such as TB care, Postnatal, Family planning, chronic disease management.
- A wellness hub in Wolwerivier is currently in the pipelines.
- Additional Medical Officer (MO) capacity at Wesfleur Hospital in 2023 will enable regular chronic health outreaches to Mamre CDC. This will further reduce the waiting times at Wesfleur Hospital Outpatient department.
Disability Grant and Assessments and Review Service
- A Disability Grant Service at Saxon Sea Clinic will be implemented once a week for booked clients.
- Assessments for disability grants now take place by means of a folder review. Most of our disability grant assessments have been moved offsite and in cases where our client requires a physical assessment, an appointment is booked for them at the Saxon Sea Clinic.
There has been positive engagement between community representatives and EMS management in responding to emergency care concerns. As a result, the following actions have been put in place:
- Our vehicle crew staff in Atlantis are monitoring call-out trends and response times to better match available resources to the demand.
- The Emergency First Aid Responder (EFAR) programme will be rolled out this year in partnership with the community. We will continue to keep you updated in the upcoming months, so that you know when and how to apply.
- A volunteer EMS programme is being explored, in partnership with the community. We recognise that volunteers are an essential and critical aspect of any well-functioning EMS service. We want the Atlantis EMS station to become a glowing example for our whole province!
- An additional vehicle is being brought in when needed to cover the Atlantis area, especially at night.
The following initiatives are a work in progress; however, we remain committed to finding solutions that will work best for our clients:
- Introducing a transport service between Wesfleur Hospital and referral hospitals for Atlantis patients who need to attend the outpatient departments in Cape Town.
- The Thuthuzela Centre and Wesfleur Hospital emergency centre (EC) run an integrated 24/7 emergency service with 3 medical officers on duty. Additional capacity was allocated to supplement the busy EC over peak periods (weekends and public holidays)
- A suitable venue must still be identified for an offsite Eye Care service.
“I wish to thank the team for the hard work that has been done thus far. I will continue to support our Community Oriented Primary Care Initiatives put in place. Health is everybody’s business and collectively we can ensure that our community receives quality and dedicated health care,, concludes Dr Fillis.