Cape chronic patients must wait for meds
Johannesburg - The changing of service providers has caused a delay in the delivery of chronic medication to patients in the Western Cape, the provincial health department says.
Spokesperson Faiza Steyn said on Wednesday: "This is not a new service to patients, but a new service provider contracted to the department to render the existing service.
"The contract expired and government supply chain management policy prescribes that we go out on tender. The new service provider was then selected."
Steyn said a new service provider was appointed on April 1, for the pre-packaging of chronic medication.
The complexity of the data transfer from the previous to the new provider, together with the sophisticated new equipment commissioned by the service provider, had negatively affected the contractor’s ability to deliver the approximately 175 000 patient parcels a month to 118 of the department's facilities.
The department had reduced the number of patient prescriptions during the transition period by issuing two month's supply of medicines to many patients in March.
"This has relieved some of the need for patients to collect their new month’s supply of medicines during the first two weeks of April."
The department and service provider were dispensing medicines manually for the next two weeks until the automated system was running at full capacity.
Patients who would have collected their medicine parcels on Friday and Monday had been asked to fetch them on Friday, as long as they had enough supplies to last until April 13.
Steyn said: "In the event of patients not having an adequate supply of medicines, they should immediately go to their nearest facility for additional supply of their medicines for their chronic conditions as an interim measure until April 13."
A helpline, manned by a pharmacist, had been set up to help patients during this period. The number is 083-472-9300.