When a trip to the clinic already involves three queues, lost patient cards are the last thing you need.
Thembinkosi Mabena recently went to collect his antiretrovirals (ARV) at the Eastern Cape’s St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lusikisiki. After eight hours and three queues, Mabena received his treatment but only after the hospital’s chief executive officer interceded on his behalf.
“I arrived at the hospital at 8:30 am 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 ARVs before hospital pharmacies closed.
“At 4:50 pm, I spoke to the hospitals’ Chief Executive Officer Dr Vusumzi Kalala for assistance,” Mabena tells OurHealth. “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.
“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.
“The system is running smooth though sometimes patient’s cards are misplaced when administrators are doing filing,” he tell OurHealth. We will address this problem at our weekly meetings”
- Read more: A day in the life of a clinic queue
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An edited version of this story first appeared on Health24