Patients ‘sickened’ by staff behaviour at Bishop Lavis Day Hospital

Patients as they wait to get help at the Bishop Lavis Community Health Centre on April 5. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Patients as they wait to get help at the Bishop Lavis Community Health Centre on April 5. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Apr 8, 2023


Cape Town - Bishop Lavis residents have established a health forum to address issues pertaining to poor service delivery at the Bishop Lavis Community Health Centre.

This follows numerous complaints, including poor staff behaviour, delays in attending to patients, the untidiness of the facility, patients being turned away without medication on their appointment dates, and being sent to containers that were used as alternative pharmacies during the Covid-19 pandemic, where there's ‘’always short medication’’.

Elvina Swartz, one of the members of the newly formed committee, said: ‘’The community has endured the poor service for too long, and the complaint box doesn't seem to make any difference. We don't know whether the complaints and reports put there do reach the intended management. So we're taking it upon ourselves to deal with our concerns. We won't rest until our people gets dignified service.’’

The committee got to action, further investigated the situation on April 3 and 4, and then reportedly set up an appointment to see the day hospital management on the morning of April 5, yet, they met with more disappointment as the management wasn't available, despite having agreed to meet with them on the day.

Wesley Moodley, another committee member, said: ‘’We're told to wait until the afternoon, but we have other commitments like all adults. We had scheduled a meeting, but clearly, they don't take us serious.’’

Grizelda Oliver is one of the pensioners enduring the treatment. ‘’The staff here is always rude to us, and we're often locked outside to queue in the sun or rain on some days. I and my husband struggle getting our medication here, like today (April 5), I was told to go get it by the container. I spent hours queuing there, only to be told at 9am to come over as they wouldn't open it. I had to start the line from the back. It's so frustrating.

"Not long ago, I happened to be at the dressing room. The treatment I got there with my injured son was so dehumanising, and the room was so filthy. Toilets are sometimes closed or out of water and dirty. The place doesn't look and smell like a health facility should," she said.

Peter Barten said he always feel agitated when he needs to collect his medication as he has to stand in long lines only to sometimes turned away without medication and shouted at by the staff.

Wilhemina Steen revealed that one patient recently passed away after she was sent home without medication.

Shimoney Regter, the spokesperson for the Department of Health and Wellness, said: “Western Cape Government Health and Wellness acknowledges all concerns shared by the Bishop Lavis community. Feedback from our residents is important to us, and we are sorry to hear about their experiences. We can confirm that community members raised their concerns during a community meeting on April 2. The facility manager attended the meeting and noted all concerns.

‘’We do not have a medication shortage at our facilities. If a particular medicine is not available at our pharmacy, an alternative is provided. We encourage all residents to honour their medication collection dates at the wellness hubs or the clinic. A resident should only collect their medication at a wellness hub if they have received an appointment. If you require medication and have no appointment, please visit your clinic, not the wellness hub.’’

Regter said the Bishop Lavis CDC facility management is committed to working with our community and community platforms to build a healthy community and to provide quality healthcare. Our facility has a health committee consisting of community members that works with the facility and community to maintain and improve services.

Swartz said they aware of the said committee but ‘’no one knows who they're. Only Mr Michael, who tries to help, but obviously he can't get far on his own.’’

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