Cape Town clinics duck nationwide health audit

2014-03-09 06:00

Twenty clinics in Cape Town have snubbed the biggest audit so far conducted in South Africa’s public healthcare sector.

They told the national health department they had already been audited by a private company whose standards are internationally recognised and did not want to participate in the local audit with a “new set of unproven, draft standards”.

Asked how the department felt about the City of Cape Town ducking the National Health Care Facilities Baseline Audit, Jeanette Hunter, the national health department’s deputy director-general, said “it was one of those things”.

These were the only clinics in the country that escaped the massive audit.

But Lungiswa James, Cape Town’s member of the mayoral committee for health, defended the decision and said there was nothing sinister about it.

“The clinics in question were at that stage accredited by the Council for Health Services Accreditation of SA, in accordance with its very high and internationally recognised standards,” James said.

“The City of Cape Town is the only local authority in South Africa where clinics had been accredited by the council.

“The organisation’s standards are excellent and the City wanted to continue with a programme that had a proven track record instead of doubling up with a new set of unproven, draft standards; hence the request to the national department of health to recognise these accredited facilities,” James explained.

Hunter said that no public health facility would be exempted from the next audit.

She said the department had studied the council’s standards and was satisfied – for now. “We have made it clear, though, that next time, clinics in Cape Town will not be excluded. Inspectors will visit these clinics to assess whether they comply with the national core standards.”

James said the clinics would participate in the next audit.

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