Premier Winde and Minister Mbombo’s unannounced visit to Ceres Hospital
“Improving services for the citizens of Witzenberg”
On Monday, 19 September 2022, Premier Alan Winde and Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo conducted an unannounced visit to Ceres Hospital, following a petition handed to the Department on 12 September 2022, by the Witzenberg Justice Coalition.
The Ceres Hospital has been under pressure, due to growth in the population in the area. This has placed strain on the hospital and its emergency centre, the ability to service complex medical conditions directly impacting on waiting times. These are issues the Western Cape Government takes seriously.
“With the healthcare system facing strain, we require a Whole of Government and a Whole of Society approach to tackle these issues. We visited today to share the difficulties faced by the Department in meeting the current demand at Ceres Hospital, and to provide an update on the implementation of the improvement plan as well as our plans to address it,” says Minister Mbombo.
The Department shared the plans for improving service delivery in Witzenberg. Ms Handri Liebenberg, the District Director for Cape Winelands said: “We are making good progress with the addition of a 4-bed mental health unit at Ceres Hospital. We have appointed a community psychiatrist to support staff and transfer skills, to further strengthen mental healthcare in the area. There is currently a locum that attends the hospital between 15h00 to 17h00 to assist in the emergency centre.”
Dr Elton Titus, the CEO of Ceres Hospital explained the more medium to longer term plans: “We are in the process of acquiring new infrastructure, the Netcare private hospital, which will serve as a Community Day Centre (CDC). The Intermediate Care Facility (ICF) service will move to a new building, freeing up space for 14 more beds at Ceres Hospital. The CDC will therefore have an intermediate care facility and will be the hub from where rehab staff offer their services, and the base from where they do outreaches to the community. The Department is looking for total of 10 beds for ICF and need to increase capacity to 100 to 110 beds, depending what usage for new infrastructure will be.”
The new infrastructure will have accessibility to a doctor, rehabilitation services, dental care and a comprehensive package of care which include, chronic care, management of TB/HIV, preventative care, mothers and child health and treatment of minor acute ailments.
Minister Mbombo said: “As health is everyone’s business, we should continue to strengthen partnerships with private entities, and establish new partnerships.”
Liebenberg continued: “We are forming part of the first area-based team in the Witzenberg area to proactively combat challenges, like substance abuse and interpersonal violence, as one of the ways to protect the health and well-being of the community.”
Premier Winde says: “It is encouraging to learn there has been progress with the Quality Improvement plan for the hospital. More still needs to be done, though. The hospital management appeared confident and eager that all the challenges raised will be addressed as quickly as possible.” Premier Winde added: “The dignity and well-being of patients are paramount, so I urge Ceres Hospital officials to do everything they can to ensure quality health care.”
The Premier pointed out: “In all aspects of service delivery, especially health care, we must plan for the future. I encourage staff to take this into account as they address the current challenges.”
The Department will be having another meeting with the WJC later this week where the stakeholders will be discussing the improvement plan.