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25 February 2015

Lost patient cards make clinic queues even longer

When a trip to the clinic already involves three queues, lost patient cards are the last thing you need.

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Thembinkosi Mabena recently went to collect his antiretroviral (ARV) treatment at the Eastern Cape’s St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lusikisiki. After eight hours and three queues, Mabena received his treatment with the help of a clinic doctor.

Several hours of waiting

“I arrived at the hospital at 08:30 and there was already a long queue,” says Mabena, who adds he only received his patient card after four hours of waiting before having to join yet another queue in the HIV unit. “I was seen at 3:15 pm and had to wait in another queue for medication.”

After being seen, Mabena says it was a race against the clock to collect his ARV's before hospital pharmacies closed.

Read: Choosing your hospital

“At 4:50 pm, I spoke to the hospitals' chief executive officer Doctor Vusumzi Kalala for assistance,” Mabena says.

“He told me that the pharmacy is closing at 5 pm but that he would talk with pharmacy assistants to help me.”

With waiting times already long at the hospital, some patients say lost cards contribute to the problem.

Urgent resolution needed

“The problem of cards getting lost at the administration area is not acceptable because our medical history is written on them,” says Nophelo Nomaphela, who adds that when cards need to be replaced, patients must give their medical history to allow doctors anew to allow them to complete new, blank cards.

“There needs to be urgent resolution on this problem".

Kalala says the hospital is working to address the problem.

Read: Hospital Acquired Infections

“The system is running smooth though sometimes patient's cards are misplaced when administrators are doing filing,” he said. We will address this problem on our weekly meetings."

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Image: Queueing from Shutterstock

Health-e News is South Africa’s award-winning dedicated health news service producing news and in-depth analysis for the country’s print and television media.

 
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