Clinic in Uitenhage shut down by protesters

Anger over staff being unable to locate patients’ medical files

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Photo of two women
Ntombizodwa Baartman (left) and Nocawa Nomzaza say at Silvertown Clinic they get cards with their appointment dates, but when they arrive their medical folders can’t be located. Photo: Thamsanqa Mbovane

About 200 people closed Silvertown Clinic in Khayelitsha, Uitenhage, on Tuesday morning.

The protesters sang songs and blocked Mondile Street by burning tyres in front of the gates to the clinic which they had locked.

The protesters came from wards 42, 43 and 44.

Mncedisi Mpinga said, “Patients arrive at this clinic at 7am and are told to go back home at 4pm without being attended to.” Mpinga said this had been going on for three years. He said nurses arrived at 8am and started working at 10am at a “snail’s pace”.

“They have a complaint box near the door, but it’s a futile exercise writing complaints, because the very same people who read them are these problematic nurses,” he said.

Another resident, Nocawa Nomzaza, 65, said, “Last month, they told me my folder is missing.”

Nurses questioned by GroundUp chose not to comment, saying they were afraid they would be fired.

Resident Ntombizodwa Baartman said, “Today when we arrived, we were sent outside whilst it was drizzling. The clinic committee said there was no use sitting inside when there is no one to assist us, because our folders are missing.

“We have been told the data capturer is on leave and that there is no clerk in this clinic. In fact, there has been no clerk at this clinic for over 15 years,” said Baartman.

Member of the ten-person clinic committee Lindiswa Poti confirmed that the committee had told residents to stand outside. ”We were waiting for the district officials to arrive … Many folders are missing.”

“We did take up the issue of folders disappearing with the district office … We are still waiting for the answers from them,” said Poti.

“The district must appoint a clerk … When the district officials arrived yesterday when we called them, they walked past us [to a closed meeting with the nurses] … They did not even greet us,” said Poti.

GroundUp was unable to reach ward 44 Councillor Nomsa Booi (ANC).

Eastern Cape Health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said, “Residents are encouraged to raise their concerns but shutting down services is discouraged. I have requested the district manager to attend to their complaints.”

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TOPICS:  Health

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