Putting patients at the heart of our health care – the story of the Western Cape Health’s Annual Report for 2021/22
The Western Cape Department of Health today tabled its Annual Report for the 2021/22 financial year. The department has demonstrated exceptional leadership and good governance resulting in a fourth successive clean audit outcome from South Africa’s Auditor General.
The department achieved this feat against the backdrop of the relentless COVID-19 pandemic while prioritizing the wellbeing of our clients, the residents of the Western Cape.
Minister for Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness, Dr. Nomafrench Mbombo stated: “I am incredibly thankful to the department for their hard work and dedication in ensuring that the best possible service is rendered to our communities. I would also like to thank those in the communities serving on our statutory structures, for their willingness and role that they play in contributing to our successes. I am proud to say we are the only provincial health department to receive clean audits for four consecutive years. This is the result of following a whole of government approach that ultimately benefits the whole of our society.”
During yet another bumpy financial year, it is sometimes easy to forget the many outstanding achievements and highlights of the department. As vaccines became available to the public, we opened the two biggest vaccination sites in the province: the Cape Town International Convention Centre and the Athlone Stadium, which also had a drive-through facility. The department also kept open the Brackengate Field Hospital and repurposed it to serve as an Intermediate Care Facility as the demand for COVID-admissions decreased. This facility now relieves pressure on other hospitals in the Metro.
Although additional to our routine workload, 5.6 million vaccines have been administered across the province safeguarding communities against COVID-19.
The department also put plans in place to resume services which had to be cut back during the various waves of the pandemic. Elective surgeries were severely affected but by allocating an additional R20million, increasing day surgery activities and procuring two surgical robots for R80 million, the Department demonstrates that it is serious about addressing surgical backlogs.
We also will not forget the 150 colleagues we lost due to the virus during this period, which was a difficult and low point of the journey. We remember their sacrifice and our thoughts remain with the grieving members of their families and loved ones for their loss.
Some key operational highlights contained in the Annual Report:
Infrastructure to ensure patient centered health services
Despite some delays because of the pandemic, the department made reasonably good progress in improving the infrastructure that supports health care provision. The capital infrastructure projects embarked on during the financial year include:
Telemedicine towards better patient care
Innovation remains a core business function which the department will incorporate into its operations. With the success of the VECTOR project during COVID-19, we will expand the telemedicine project and now include all diabetic as well as TB patients. The intention is to provide appropriate clinical care to a select group of the population via telemedicine services. This will ensure that patients with a stable chronic condition (on medication, doing well) do not have to make an unnecessary trip to a health facility.
Chronic medicine delivery to enable patient-friendly service
During COVID-19 we successfully instituted a system of delivering chronic medication to people’s homes to protect our patients from a potentially risky health facility visit. This proved so successful that we will continue with this activity in the future. E-lockers have also been initiated at some of our Community Health Centres (CHC) which allows people to collect their chronic medication at any time of the day or night from a secured area within the CHC. This is a convenient and patient-centric service that also allows us to further decongest our facilities.
Head of the Department, Dr Keith Cloete, says: “I am immensely proud of each and every staff member for their tireless efforts, continued resilience and commitment to our clients ensuring we keep them at the heart of our business through good governance which translates into efficient, effective service delivery.”
The Annual Report 2021/22 can be accessed by clicking here.