Man turned away

2016-12-20 06:01

A man who was involved in an accident on Monday 5 December says he was refused medical assistance at the Hanover Park Community Health Centre (CHC).

The man from Hanover Park, who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of victimisation, says he was in a taxi when the driver lost control of his vehicle and crashed.

“I think [the driver] got sick or something, then we crashed and I got hurt. I immediately went to the Hanover Park CHC. When I arrived there just after 18:00 I was searched and let into the hospital,” he recalls.

“However, just after I was allowed in, another security officer came to the front and told me the cut-off time was 18:00 and said I couldn’t get medical assistance.”

The CHC reduced its hours from a 24-hour to a 12-hour facility on Friday 2 December due to gang violence that has spiked in the area (“Shorter clinic hours”, People’s Post 6 December).

Monique Johnstone, health department spokesperson for Klipfontein and Mitchell’s Plain, says this decision was taken by management to ensure the safety of staff and the community.

The CHC’s new hours are from 07:00 until 19:00 including weekends. Trauma and emergency cases would be transported by EMS to Heideveld Emergency Centre and Groote Schuur Hospital.

However, despite being on time and the pain he endured, the injured man says he was still sent home and he was not referred to either of the alternative hospitals. “I also did not appreciate the arrogance of the security guard when he told me the CHC was closed. In actual fact, by that time I did not even know their hours had changed. I didn’t want any further confrontation and just decided to go home to return the next day.”

The next day he explained the situation to one of the clerks at the CHC. “[The clerk] then asked me why I didn’t go to Heideveld Emergency Centre. I didn’t have transport to go there; how was I supposed to get there?” He says he then told the clerk he would report the incident and was met with more “arrogance”.

“I was very upset when this clerk then told me that I could go complain wherever I wanted to, it didn’t matter to him. I will never put my foot in that place again. It was a terrible experience. I would rather go borrow money to go to a private hospital than go through that again,” he says.

Johnstone told People’s Post the department is not aware of any incidents where patients were refused medical assistance at Hanover Park CHC before the new closing time. “Sufficient time is set aside for the doctors to treat the current patients who are waiting to see a doctor before the (emergency centre) closes at 19:00 in order to continue their shift at the Heideveld Emergency Centre,” she says.

She says on Monday 5 December – the day of the incident which the patient was refused access – the facility had nine patients still waiting to be treated before 19:00.

“The security guard was instructed by management to refer clients seeking healthcare after hours to the Heideveld Emergency Centre.

Johnstone has encouraged patients who experience similar treatment at the CHC to contact their complaints hotline on 0860 142 142 or send a please-call-me to 079 769 1207. Alternatively an email can be sent to service@westerncape.gov.za.

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