I commend new Health MEC Bandile Masuku for our joint oversight visit to the Alexandra Community Health Centre last week on Friday afternoon which was constructive and will hopefully address long-standing problems.
This clinic used to be a NGO, but has experienced severe problems in recent years since it was taken over by the Gauteng Health Department in 2016.
We visited the casualty section where staff complained that there used to be a laboratory on-site to test blood but there are now delays as it has to be sent elsewhere for analysis. Additional problems are caused because the x-ray department does not operate after hours.
I am concerned by a shortage of doctors and allegations that some of the doctors don’t work their full hours. We met four community service doctors who are not receiving proper supervision and training.
Security is still a concern after a patient was stabbed to death in the Casualty last year in May. A young female doctor was recently attacked on a Saturday afternoon, and she has laid a charge against her assailant. The Department of Infrastructure Development has promised to do building alterations to enhance security but this has not yet happened.
There is also a long-running grievance by staff who claim that they are owed money for long-service.
It is important that this clinic functions well as it serves a large population. It offers services that include casualty, pharmacy, radiography, maternity, ante-natal and post-natal care, dentistry, psychology, social work, dietetics, rehabilitation and chronic care for a range of chronic diseases. Furthermore, it provides monitoring, treatment and follow-up programmes for TB, HIV, Hypertension and Diabetes.
MEC Masuku promised that he would follow-up on the concerns that were raised by staff and I will hold him to account on this.