From the news desk

HPark residents frustrated with hospital services

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The Hanover Park day hospital has come under fire recently by residents who say the services at the hospital is nothing short of appalling. The hospital is facing an overcrowding issue, as it deals with an influx of patients from the Dr Aburahman Community Health Centre in Kewtown, which is closed due to construction. VOC’s regular caller Gigi Richards brought attention to the matter on Friday morning, saying patients waited for hours on end for chronic medication.

“The place is in a shambles. Patients wait all day and get turned away only to be told there is no medication and given Panados. Then they have to come back the next day and wait again in a queue of 1000 people,” Richards reported.

“The government does not care about the people. Hanover Park residents need to wake up….think about where you make your cross.”

Chairperson of the Hanover Park Health Forum, 78 year old Elizabeth Bantam said for almost two years, residents from Hanover Park and surrounding areas have complained about the services at the hospital. Recently, services at the facility had deteriorated.

“On Wednesday I waited from 7am until 5:30pm for my medication. While I was there I asked the staff how many doctors were there as well as the amount of people they were accommodating. The answers I received were shocking. At the time, there had only been four doctors to assist 800 people,” Bantam said.

She said people waiting in line to either see the doctor or pick up medication were mostly elderly and impoverished. While at the hospital, Bantam contacted the MEC for Health in the Western Cape, Theuns Botha, to complain about the worsening conditions at the hospital.

“He [Botha] had his PA take my call and I told them about what was happening here. They said to me that there were eight doctors but I told her this was wrong and there had only been four,” Bantam said.

“We need better facilities here to accommodate the amount of people needing assistance on a daily basis. People can’t sit here for hours on end. There were so many people when I was here, the hospital had to send them home and ask them to return the next day.”

However, Provincial Department of Health communications officer, Sithembiso Magubane, said the lack of medical practitioners is a nationwide problem and not unique to just Hanover Park.

“We have earmarked the Hanover Park Hospital for a reconstruction but we have yet to find the land in the areas as it will be re-built,” Magubane said.

Magubane said the reason for the large influx of patients could be attributed to the population growth as only 6-8% of other residents in the surrounding areas are making use of the Hanover Park Hospital. When asked about the number of doctors at the hospital, Magubane explained it was driven by nursing care.

“Only four permanent doctors and three community service doctors as well as seven clinical practitioners are there. Doctors are just there to provide support in the services.”

While putting up with sub-standard services, many patients have to walk to the hospital and run the risk of being caught in gang crossfire or targeted by drug addicted criminals. Bantam said the community would like to see the department address these concerns as soon as possible, adding that her main concern lies with the ratio of health care practitioners to patients. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)

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