Goederede Clinic – still failing patients

KWAGGAFONTEIN, 17th JULY 2017 – Today 50 members of the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) in Mpumalanga are picketing outside Goederede Clinic because of its failure to provide adequate healthcare services to the community. Patients who use the clinic face excessive waiting times, poor staff attitudes, undignified and unhygienic toilets, and shortages of medicines and equipment. Despite efforts to engage staff and authorities since last year, the problems at the clinic have yet to be resolved.

“TAC receives complaint after complaint from people in the community about the state of the services at Goederede Clinic,” says TAC Boekenhoudhoek Chairperson Ellias Mtshweni. “People wait all day, to never be seen. We get to the clinic, only to be sent home empty handed without the medicines we need. The nurses are under-resourced. Often, they are rude to us. We wait outside, even in the rain. We are forced to relieve ourselves without any privacy in dirty toilets. Goederede clinic is in crisis”

TAC and community members are picketing today to demand urgent action to address the following issues (the full memorandum outlining the concerns in more detail is here):

  • Long waiting times of more than seven hours at the clinic, with some patients being sent home without being attended to;
  • Poor staff attitude instead of respect and care;
  • Clinic staff taking long and unnecessary breaks causing further delays to service;
  • The infrastructure is too small forcing patients to queue outside;
  • Ongoing medicine shortages due to a break in and theft at the clinic leaving the pharmacy understocked and in disrepair. Often patients leave the clinic empty handed;
  • Delays for patients collecting chronic medicines as nothing is pre-packaged;
  • No air conditioner to protect medicines that need to be temperature controlled;
  • Medications left in consultation rooms in easy access of anyone who wishes to take them;
  • Patients forced to use a dirty outside toilet with no door and no running water;
  • Only one blood pressure machine being shared between three consultation rooms;
  • Dysfunctional Clinic Committee that does not understand its role and responsibilities and is not representing the needs of the community; and
  • Long delays for emergency medical services of up to six hours.

TAC branch members have made several attempts to address the issues with the relevant authorities in various meetings and telephone calls since October 2016, yet to date no changes have been seen. This year the following process was followed to attempt to gain a resolution:

– On the 17th February 2017, a letter requesting a meeting with the Clinic Supervisor was delivered.

– A meeting was held at Goederede Clinic on 20th February 2017 with the Acting Operation Manager (D.P Mashaba), the Quality & Implementation Manager (Sister Elsie Jele), and the Assistant Clinic Manager (Mr S.T Mahlangu). After presenting the issues a further meeting was scheduled for 17th March 2017.

– By 17th March 2017 no improvements were seen. The Clinic Supervisor committed to writing to the Department of Public Works to request they finish renovating the building to be used for chronic medicine distribution. Currently the structure is too small and patients are forced to wait outside.

– By July 2017, no changes had been made on any of our issues.

“The level of service and healthcare at this clinic is totally unacceptable. Section 27 of the Constitution guarantees us the right to health. Yet in Goederede Clinic, like so many more health facilities across Mpumalanga, this right is not even close to being met,” said Sibusiso Mashiteng, TAC Mpumalanga Provincial Chairperson. “If we don’t see any changes soon, we’ll take this matter up with the MEC.”

For more information contact:
Mr. Ellias Mtshweni | TAC Boekenhoudhoek Chairperson | 079 958 4986
Ms. Z.E Mahlangu | TAC Community Advocate | 082 678 0738
Maria Shongwe | TAC District Organiser | maria.shongwe@tac.org.za

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