Department sorry

The Western Cape Department of Health has apologised to residents who receive their medication from the Lotus River Community Day Centre.

This comes after the facility was short-staffed amid Eid celebrations last week.

“The Western Cape Government Health extends our apologies to the clients at Lotus River Community Day Centre for the inconvenience experienced at the facility on the day of Eid. We also express our gratitude for the patience provided on the day,” says Monique Johnstone, department spokesperson.

She says the centre has a staff complement of eight working in the pharmacy, but half were off duty to celebrate Eid on Wednesday 22 August. “The pharmacist in charge put plans in place and monitored the number of bookings and patients collecting medication in anticipation of the religious celebration, but the facility could not anticipate the number of walk-in clients requiring services. Unfortunately the pharmacy manager fell ill and the staff on duty tried their best to accommodate patients. Management attempted to arrange for locum staff on short notice, but unfortunately could not secure assistance,” adds Johnstone.

As a result the acting pharmacy manager for the southern and western area of the provincial department arrived at the facility to physically assist in the pharmacy. The situation was communicated to clients on the day and regular updates were given.

Serojini Moodley from Pelican Park says she was at the clinic for three consecutive days and witnessed the backlog.

“The person came and they were only there for an hour at 12:00 and they left at 13:00. I had to go back on the Thursday for my medication, but it was chaotic over there, because everybody was complaining and they said that they were short of staff. On Friday I had to go for my results and it was the same thing. A lot of people were complaining because there was a nurse who was talking to us saying that there was a complaint box and we needed to put our complaints in there,” says Moodley.

She says there was a shortage of doctors as well, but understands that the situation was not the fault of the staff who were at the clinic. “I feel sorry for the old people, because for their chronic medication they had to come back the next day and they did not get their medication on time. I left home at 06:45 and I only came out of there at 16:15 and the day hospital was going to close on the Wednesday,” she says.

“Some people were saying they did not have transport money to come back again. It was very sad, because I am not talking about myself here. Even on the Friday when I went there it was hectic. I only went for my results, but then they could not find my folder and I had to wait,” adds Moodley.

Johnstone says if clients are not able to collect their medication on their appointment date and they notify the facility timeously, they would be helped the next day.

She explains that the facility has a booking system to reschedule medication collection appointments. Chronic Dispensing Unit (CDU) parcels are kept for three days after the collection date. Clients who cannot collect due to work commitments or severe illness can send a family member to collect on their behalf with permission in writing. The facility also issues attendance slips and allows non-CDU patients to make appointments to collect their medication.