The North West health department is working tirelessly to improve access to primary healthcare by increasing operating hours, MEC Madoda Sambatha said on Thursday.
“In the next 12 months, we will increase 24-hour service availability by an additional nine health facilities from the current 68.
“The number will increase by at least ten health facilities per year for the next five years, targeting the most rural communities in a manner that address equity of access to health services,” Sambatha said, tabling a more than R12 billion departmental budget for the financial year 2019/2020 at the provincial legislature.
“As part of relieving hospitals from the burden of an excess of patients who should be treated at primary healthcare level, we will also include Mafikeng Gateway Clinic and Taung Gateway Clinic to operate 24-hour services,” he said.
Primary healthcare facilities that will be prioritised for 24-hour service include Sekhing, Moshana community health centres and Matsheng, Weltevreden, Madibogopan, Obakeng, Bethanie and Madikwe clinics while Buxton clinic would have operating hours extended to 12 hours.
The expansion of operating hours would be linked to bursaries offered by the department at the North West Nursing College and North West University.
The two institutions produced 475 nurses in both basic and post-basic courses last year and they are currently serving the people of North West.
Sambatha said the department would unveil an electronic patient appointment booking system to address challenges of long queues and overcrowding at hospitals and clinics.
Joe Morolong Hospital has entered into an agreement with Braun Renal Care Unit on the provision of renal dialysis services.
“This partnership brings dialysis services closer to home for the people of Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati District. The district has been relying on referring patients to other facilities especially to Klerksdorp-Tshepong Hospital and I am pleased that the traveling will now end,” he said.
Sambatha said the department had embarked on the reorganisation of the Mmabatho Medical Store and the provincial management of pharmaceutical services in systems and human resources to improve medicine availability through rational use and effective ordering, warehousing, distribution and payment systems.
“This is a massive process involving 13 work streams at the Medical Store and 12 work streams at provincial and district levels.
“This reorganisation process has to be appropriately resourced in order to achieve the desired result of improved medicine availability in an acceptable time period,” he said.
– African News Agency (ANA)