Major relief for embattled KDH

Sister Grace Mashaba was delighted that the hospital has a new surgical ward and CT scan to reduce queues.

The under fire Khayelitsha District Hospital received a much-needed boost on Friday August 3 when Health MEC, Professor Nomafrench Mbombo, opened a new surgical ward and a CT scan suite, with additional 30 beds.

Since its opening in 2012, the facility has been in the news for all the wrong reasons, including instances where patients have had to sleep on the floor due to overcrowding and allegations of unprofessional behaviour by the staff.

It is hoped that the extra beds would alleviate pressure on the hospital, improve service delivery and reduce the number of patients in the trauma wards.

The CT scan suite is already in use and will operate at full capacity later this month, resulting in quicker diagnoses as patients will no longer have to be transferred to Tygerberg Hospital for CT scans.

Professor Mbombo said her department was committed to creating more space to reduce the number of patients that slept on the floor at the facility.

She said KDH serves a population of more than 403 000 , with 95% of the facility’s feeder area population dependent on public health care.

She said instances of alcohol and substance abuse contributed to some of the challenges faced by the facility.

Professor Mbombo said KDH had at times been stretched beyond its available resources.

This, she said, was common to the entire public health care system.

“The department acknowledges that the service is under pressure and that there is a huge demand for beds resulting in patients with non-life threatening conditions sometimes having to wait longer. KDH has 300 beds and currently operates at a 130% occupancy rate as it provides both district and regional health care services,” she said.

Professor Mbombo said her department worked hard to ensure good service delivery, but due to pressure, the experience is not always as good as they would like it to be, particularly at peak times. She said the other problem was people who bypassed the clinics and ran straight to the hospital. She appealed to people to go to the clinics first and only visit the hospital upon a referral.

Comparing it to education, Professor Mbombo said people start their education at primary school and finish at tertiary institutions. She also appealed to the staff at the facility to put patients first. She said patients should be treated with care and love.

Head of the provincial Health Department, Dr Berth Engelbrecht, said the department would not win the battle to improve health care unless the patients have a good hospital experience.

Zolile Feni, chairperson of the KDH board, added that the government was doing everything to reduce the burden and the pressure on the hospital.

He said he was happy for the people of Khayelitsha because there were more developments to come for the hospital.