What patients are saying about Khayelitsha Hospital

Pharie Sefali
Photo by Jason Buch www.jasonbuchphotography.com. Copyright belongs to the photographer and is not CC.
Pharie Sefali

On 17 April the Western Cape Health Minister, Theuns Botha, opened Khayelitsha Hospital, “Today marks a milestone of improved service delivery for the people of the Western Cape. Finally, after a lifetime of travelling to distant hospitals, the people of Khayelitsha now have access to a hospital in their immediate vicinity that will compare to the best in the world.”

The hospital cost R632 million to build.

I spoke to several residents in Khayelitsha who have used the hospital. Their responses were mixed.

Vuyokazi (surname withheld at her request) was recently admitted to give labour. She explained that she is happy that she gave birth to a healthy baby. However, she admitted that she had originally been scared to go to the hospital to go into labour there because she had heard rumours of poor service.

On the other hand, Ms Lunathi, who was admitted at the hospital a month ago, has mixed feelings after the service she received. “I got admitted at 4pm. I was diagnosed with pneumonia and I had breathing problems. I had to wait in the waiting room until 11am the next day before I got a bed. During that time I was sitting with ten other people who were also waiting for a bed. I even got a drip while sitting there. We were told that all beds were occupied, so we had to wait for a patient to be discharged to get one.”

A resident from Makhaya said, “I do not trust the security there. There was an incident where gang members were fighting inside the hospital. So I do not feel safe inside it.”

A porter at the hospital who didn’t want to be named said that people come to the hospital for minor injuries or headaches. “They forget that the hospital mostly caters for emergencies.” He explained that there is a day-hospital that people should rather use for minor problems and it is next door to Khayelitsha hospital. “Just because one person didn’t get good service that doesn’t mean others are not being assisted. People need to have patience and understand that the staff are doing their best,” he said.

Zamayedwa Sogayise, chairperson of the Khayelitsha Hospital Board, said that the hospital has an active complaints and compliments system in line with provincial policy. He said that all complaints received are formally investigated and the outcomes are discussed personally with clients.

He said Khayelitsha Hospital is a “state of the art facility.” He claims that the hospital has revolutionized health care within the sub-district. “Already 36 stabbed heart clients have accessed the services and been successfully managed. The community can be proud of a hospital of this stature,” he said.

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