Prestbury clinic open only one day a week as staff shortage bites

2011-08-17 00:00

THE Msunduzi Municipality is said to have a 50% vacancy rate and a pressing shortage of staff in the health department, leaving Prestbury community clinic and other clinics in the city without regular healthcare facilities.

The Prestbury Municipal Clinic at 144 Zwartkop Road opens only on Wednesdays.

Ward councillor Glenn McArthur said the community is forced to use the East Street or City Central clinics for the other six days of the week.

“It is not practical to expect people to wait for a week to see a nurse,” said McArthur. “This effectively defeats the object of having a local clinic.”

McArthur identified the building as being suitable for a clinic in 2006 because previously the health facility was at the Anglican church hall.

The clinic was opened last year after four years of negotiations and renovations.

“Residents have expressed the wish both verbally and in letters for a more convenient time frame to be established in order to cover the needs of the community,” McArthur told The Witness. “Letters from me, the ratepayers’ association and the ward committee in support of this plea are continually responded by ‘health doesn’t have the staff for more than one day per week’.”

He blames the problem on a lack of commitment by the municipality.

Msunduzi spokesperson Brian Zuma said, “Prestbury Clinic is not the only clinic that is affected by this. Three other municipal clinics are as well.

“We are very thin when it comes to staff complement for the clinics, unfortunately. We are faced with a situation where nurses are attracted to other departments because of better salaries and benefits.”

He said that as soon as the situation improves the municipality will increase the number of days the clinic is open.

“For now residents can go to East Boom Community Healthcare Clinic or the Central Clinic,” Zuma added.

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