Today the Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, visited the Zandvliet Care Facility in Macassar to oversee the delivery of chronic medication parcels to the elderly. This forms part of Western Cape Government Health’s strategy to deliver medicine parcels to alternate sites and reduce the patient numbers at health facilities.
Western Cape Health Minister, Theuns Botha, says: “Alternate sites such as care facilities are used to reduce patient waiting times and to alleviate the bottlenecks experienced at pharmacy service points. It is estimated that 30% of the patients in the Metro receive their medication through the alternate site delivery service, which translates into 47 000 fewer patients that will attend the clinics each month.”
Minister Botha emphasised that only stable chronic patients can have the benefit of this service. “Patients should return to their clinics for renewal of their prescriptions as prescribed by their local clinic.”
Apart from care facilities, the department’s 1 400 alternate sites include other venues such as clothing workers clinics, chronic clubs and community halls. Six percent of all patient medicine parcel deliveries in the Metro are alternate site deliveries. Of the 1 400 alternate sites registered to receive parcels, 74 are residential facilities.
The dispensing and delivery of patient medicine parcels costs the Department R22.24 per script, and is provided by a private service provider.
The rollout to rural districts is in progress – this includes alternate site deliveries. The service includes the dispensing of ARVs, and has a significant impact to reduce the pressure on the ARV sites.
With this system the Western Cape is certainly leading the country. UTi Pharma, the company that assembles and distributes medicine parcels for Western Cape Government Health, packages an average of 220 000 prescriptions for chronic patients per month. The R500 million contract was awarded for a five-year period. It is the single largest pharmacy operation of its kind on the continent.
Zandvliet Care Facility is a home to 141 residents. All are dependent on a state pension of R1 290 per month.