By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Spokesperson on the Office of the Premier:
The Gauteng Premier’s complaints hotline has received 716 health-related complaints from January to May this year, but 24% of the complaints in May were not resolved.
According to a written reply by Gauteng Premier David Makhura to my questions in this regard, all calls made to the previous Health Complaint Hotline are now re-routed to the Premier’s complaint hotline.
Whilst response time has improved from 28 days in January to 2 days in May, the resolution rate has fallen from 100% earlier this year to 91% in April and 76% in May.
The biggest complaint is of poor customer care at hospitals, with 119 such complaints which comprised 19% of all calls.
There were 46 complaints about being turned away from a health facility, 39 concerned clinical care, 34 people complained about lack of medicine, 28 about staff rudeness and 27 about medical negligence.
According to Makhura, delays have been experienced because complaints are first sent to the head office of the Gauteng Department of Health and then to hospitals and clinics.
Makhura says that “engagement with the Department of Health is underway to escalate cases directly to hospitals and clinics. This process will have a tracking system to enable Senior Management of Head Office to track the resolution of cases through email alerts and notifications.”
I am concerned about delays in resolving complaints and I hope that the new system improves this.
Complaints should be used to detect and fix weaknesses in our health facilities so that there is less cause to use the complaints hotline.
I encourage people to use this hotline when necessary at Tel: 08600 11000.