Missing patients’ medical documents and poor service rendered by nurses at Site B community health care clinic were some of the main concerns raised by the residents when the health committee of the clinic and various stakeholders held a health dialogue on Friday October 20.
Scores of residents gathered at Site B hall to voice their frustration and suggest what could be done to address their grievances.
Officers from Khayelitsha police station, City of Cape Town and Emergency Medical Service representatives, and traditional leaders were among those who engaged with the residents.
Health committee member, Nomzamo Yam, said they wanted to regain the trust of the community and also enlighten them about the challenges that the clinic struggles with. But, she said, their mission was to create a platform whereby the residents could freely express their constructive criticism which would help them know precisely what needed to be improved.
She admitted that negligence and hostile treatment from the nurses were some of the problems often reported by the patients.
These issues, she said, had been raised with the clinic staff and they had already seen some improvements.
Ms Yam said after they held various community engagements with the residents they discovered that the working relationship between the clinic staff and community had become unhealthy and hostile.
She argued that because the clinic rendered such a crucial service to the community, it was essential that they sorted out their differences and that the voice of the patients be heard and taken seriously.
She pointed out that the issue of missing medical documents had been resolved and that they had implemented some strategies to address the issue. Ms Yam pointed out that overcrowding and crime also posed major challenges, and that patients were being robbed next to the clinic.
There had also been break-ins at the facility, she said, but security had since been beefed up.
“We will look into each and every complaint and find an amicable solution. We do not want to hear any of these complaints again. We want our patients to be treated with respect and dignity. The clinic deals with people’s live and we don’t want them to feel like they were not cared for,” she said.
But she added that another aim of the dialogue was to introduce the health committee to the community-even though it had been operating for the past three years.
The committee, she said, had been established to create a platform for the residents to voice their complaints and suggestions about the daily operations of the clinic.
Resident Phatheka Maxhegwana, said the harsh reality was that nurses were mistreating patients and sometimes would yell at them for no reason.
She said she was told that her medical documents had disappeared which had made her angry and caused her to lose confidence in them.
“Nurses are rude, period. They must not be irritated when we ask questions but instead help us. We would also appreciate if this dialogue would address our complaints,” she said.
Welile Ngcobo, environmental health officer at City of Cape Town, said they wanted to share a few tips with the residents on how to keep their food safe and fresh.
She said their role was to ensure that all the food being sold in the shops was of good enough quality to be consumed.
Ms Ngcobo told the residents that they test water to ascertain whether it can consumed to eliminate the risk of infecting people with deadly diseases.