Drastic Interventions to Shorten Long Queues at Clinics
The problems with the roll-out of chronic medication was this week addressed by senior area managers visiting the facilities, getting involved on the ground and directing patients into streams for better flow. The problem is mainly in the Cape Metro although some rural districts have also been affected.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said that he hoped the drastic intervention and involvement from senior managers will relieve waiting times. "It cannot be business as usual. Our managers must be on the front line until this challenge has been addressed. I believe that with the increased managerial intervention and the daily detailed reporting, the department will be able to proactively address issues."
Pharmacy staff members from various hospitals have been placed at the facilities to address the dispensing of medication to patients whose medication have not yet arrived. Prescriptions are now packaged at the facility after hours. Patients are requested to return at 09:00 in the mornings to collect their packages from another area in the facility to shorten the long lines at the pharmacies.
Other temporary interventions to alleviate the problem areas are as follows:
- Staggering patient appointments.
- Ongoing communication with patients who are waiting.
- Alternative work processes.
The following areas have been identified as problematic and patients of these facilities should prepare for long waiting times:
- Elsie's River
- Mitchell's Plain
Over the past five weeks, patients have been waiting in very long queues as a result of the problems with the packaging of chronic medication, even as late as 21:00 in the evening. Managers will remain actively involved to find temporary solutions to the situation. However, it is expected that the levels of service will improve in the next few weeks. Until then, managers are addressing specific complaints as they come in.
The department has set up a helpline for patients. This helpline is manned by a pharmacist who assists with questions regarding medication and offering telephonic advice regarding the nearest 24-hour facility in the event of an urgent need or emergency. The helpline number is 083 472 9300.
The past few weeks have been exceptionally challenging to all staff that had to work even longer hours to work through the backlogs.