Long queues at South Rand hospital

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

Patients at the South Rand Hospital in south Johannesburg sit in crowded conditions and wait most of the day in long queues to get their file, see a doctor and receive medicine.

I saw this on my visit there yesterday as part of the DA’s campaign to shorten hospital queues.

The official waiting times posted on the walls are as follows:

Outpatients – 2 hours
Pharmacy – 1 hour 20 minutes
Accident and Emergency – 1 hour 40 minutes

But patients told me that average times are far longer, often stretching into most of the day. An elderly man told me that he had arrived at 7.15 am, and he only got his medicine at 1.30 pm. Others told similar stories (contact numbers available on request).

I saw no evidence of the project announced by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in her July budget speech to put 2000 patient files at this hospital onto a “real time integrated electronic system”.

Drawing a file is still a laborious exercise that patients told me can take up to two hours.

The intercom system is broken at the pharmacy, so patients’ names have to be shouted. The waiting area is too small and too close to the queue for the outpatient’s clinic in the corridor.

I will monitor the promised electronic replacement of patient files at this hospital which MEC Mahlangu promised would reduce the time to find a file to less than ten minutes.

I hope that it is successful and can be rolled out to other hospitals, but this department does not have a good record in fulfilling promises.