By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
Queues at the South Rand Hospital in south Johannesburg have not diminished despite Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu’s promise in July last year that all paper files would be replaced by an electronic patient management system.
Last week when I visited the hospital I was disappointed to see that patients still waited in long queues for files, to see a doctor and to collect their medicine.
In her budget speech on 29 July last year, Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu said: “To further reduce patient waiting times and the loss of files we have launched a project at South Rand Hospital to put 2 000 patient files onto a real time integrated electronic system. Our objective is to ensure that every patient file is on an electronic system over this financial year. We are hopeful that this system will reduce the amount of time it takes to find a patient file to less than ten minutes.”
This project should have been completed by the end of March this year, but has now been abandoned as it appears that they under-estimated the work required.
It is one more failed promise by the MEC. An added disappointment is that the queue-reduction project at South Rand was supposed to be rolled out to other hospitals.
Notices at the hospital state that the waiting time benchmark for outpatients is 130 minutes, 110 minutes for accident and emergency, and 80 minutes to get medicine.
This is an unacceptably low standard that is often not even met.
How long more will patients have to endure long queues because of failed attempts to improve the system?