Update on health services affected by the ongoing minibus taxi strike
The ongoing minibus taxi strike and associated sporadic violence in certain areas are continuing to impact the delivery of health services, resulting in staff being unable to report for work, facilities having to close or operate at reduced capacity, elective surgeries being postponed, and longer waiting times at clinics and outpatient departments.
However, we can assure our patients and staff that the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness remains committed to their safety and we are doing our utmost to ensure we continue to provide health services to the communities we serve. Unfortunately, facilities situated in areas that are not deemed safe, will be closed. The violence has also escalated to certain rural areas, meaning a reduced service will also be implemented in these areas as our staff cannot make their way to work because of transport disruptions and safety concerns.
We urge staff and the public to please remain vigilant – also please be aware of false social media messages doing the rounds, which cause much anxiety for everyone. Please rather look out for official communication on the situation.
Due to the ongoing minibus taxi strike, the following services are impacted today:
Central Hospitals (Tygerberg, Red Cross and Groote Schuur Hospital)
- Elective surgery remains postponed.
- Only emergency surgery will be conducted.
- Outpatients Departments are open, but patients may have longer waiting times.
- Karl Bremer Hospital functioning at reduced capacity
- Mitchells Plain Hospital
- Under pressure due to discharged patients who cannot be fetched because of transport challenges
- Elective surgery postponed.
- Visiting hours cancelled
- Visiting hours cancelled at Lentegeur Hospital and Western Cape Rehab Centre.
Community Health Centres and Clinics in the Metropole
- Inzame Zabantu CDC, Nyanga CDC, Crossroads CDC, Nolungile CDC, and Gugulethu CHC are closed.
- All other facilities are operating at limited capacity.
- Heideveld CHC EC under strain.
- Du Noon MOU closed until further notice.
- Michael Mapongwana CHC will close at 14:00.
- Paarl Hospital functioning at reduced capacity
Community Health Centres and Clinics
- All clinics in Overberg, Garden Route, Central Karoo, West Coast, and Cape Winelands are open, but patients may have longer waiting times due to reduced staff.
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES AND FORENSIC PATHOLOGY SERVICES
Emergency Medical Services remain ready to respond to emergencies. Certain volatile areas will experience a delay in response time as both ambulances and Forensic Pathology Services have to be escorted by law enforcement.
“We are doing everything we can to ensure our health staff, facilities, and patients are kept safe. We appeal to everyone not to damage our health facilities and vehicles, as we want to continue to provide medical care. Our sincere and heartfelt appreciation to our health and other essential services staff, who have continued where possible to deliver services to those in need despite significant transport and safety challenges,” says Dr Kariem.
Western Cape Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, added: “Any form of violence or forced disruption of health services to our vulnerable communities are strongly condemned. I am deeply disappointed in the ongoing violence and damage to our facilities and vehicles, as well as the continued attacks on the safety of our health staff. As Minister, I reiterate my call to everyone to allow the safe passage of healthcare workers so that they can continue to render services to communities. Our system cannot function without our staff being on the frontlines taking care of patients. We cannot allow this strike to take away our patients’ right to healthcare services.”