Unanimous Support for Re-development of Emergency Services
Doctors met at the Western Cape Ministry of Health and had the opportunity to explain the major structural and resource problems at Groote Schuur, Tygerberg and Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, as well their concerns on proposed changes to the emergency services.
At the end of the meeting Minister Botha said that it was obvious that there have been major increases in trauma patient numbers at these hospitals. The numbers on the table revealed that Groote Schuur Hospital's Emergency Unit is dealing with a 32 percent increase in patient numbers, over the same period last year, but that there has been no increase in resources.
It was also pointed out that the waiting time in the emergency unit was excessive - sometimes more than 24 hours at a time - which bears testimony to the pressures involved for health and clinical staff.
Another problem was that at least 20 percent of the patients in emergency care, were really "green" cases - meaning that they could have been treated at their local clinics. These patients were clogging the system and taking the space required for real emergency patients.
Minister Botha said "It is obvious that the drastic increase in patient numbers require a re-addressing of the current system." He committed himself as the political leader to address the challenge of resources.
"I want to repeat: the trauma unit will not close, and the re-development of the system is not a cost-cutting exercise," said Botha. "We want to strengthen our services to patients in need of emergency services."
As a follow-up of today's briefing session and discussions, that was held on Botha's initiative and invitation, the doctors will meet to as a team find solutions to the problems under discussion, and make proposals and make workable proposals and recommendations to improve the reception, referral and transition of emergency and trauma patients at hospitals by the end of August this year.
Botha stressed that the process of considering models of managing emergency centres at hospitals is a process, and that he welcomed every initiative and contribution in this process towards the goal of improved health services in this province.
Issued by: Theuns Botha MPP
Western Cape Minister for Health
Media liaison: Hélène Rossouw
Western Cape Ministry of Health
Mobile: 082 771 8834
Tel: 021 483 4426