POLOKWANE – Having to spend the entire day at a medical facility to get assistance is bad enough but it gets even worse when you have to return the following day because you were among the many who were not assisted.
This is exactly the situation patients at Rethabile Clinic in the city found themselves in. They notified Review about the situation and we went to investigate. Upon arrival at the clinic Review found the waiting area full of patients awaiting much-needed medical assistance. They were noticeably agitated as there was seemingly not a single clerk available to help them.
When asked, the receptionist shrugged her shoulders and nonchalantly replied: “We are in the process of sorting things out but I can’t say how long it will take, you can take a seat and wait”.
This is not the first time Rethabile Clinic has come under intense scrutiny with regard to their poor service delivery and seemingly careless attitude towards patient care.
One patient, who wished to remain anonymous due to fear of victimisation, told Review some of the patients had been coming to the clinic daily from 06:00 for almost a week only to be left without care.
“My wife is currently seven months pregnant and in need of medical assistance to ensure the health and well-being of our unborn child,” a concerned resident said.
Because so many patients are not consulted with, the number of patients increases daily as they come back in the hope of being assisted the following day.
One of the patients informed Review the clinic personnel was rumoured to be on a slow strike. This was confirmed by the Department of Health Spokesperson, Neil Shikwambana, when Review asked for comment about the situation at the clinic.
During the visit to the clinic, the Review journalists were attacked by security personnel after taking photos of the situation with the hope of bringing it to the attention of the MEC for Health.
“We can confirm the clerical staff at Rethabile Clinic were on a go-slow. Their concerns have been heard by the department, however, and the strike has been called off,” Shikwambana said.
“As the Department of Health we condemn the alleged manhandling of journalists, or any person, by the security personnel.
“Our security personnel are there to provide security and protection services at our facilities in order to ensure the smooth running of processes and service delivery.”