‘Provisional health plan failing’

2019-10-29 06:00

The Hangberg-Hout Bay community is set to approach the Cape High Court after their demand for the Hout Bay Community Day Centre (CDC) to be open and fully operational by Friday 25 October wasn’t met.

In a lawyer’s letter dated Monday 21 October and addressed to Dr Beth Engelbrecth, head of the Western Cape department of health, Vernon Seymour of Lionel Cay Attorneys wrote: “Please be advised that we hold instructions that should the health department fail to meet the demand of the community, that we approach the Cape High Court to seek appropriate relief.”

Attached to the letter was 1 of 26 pages containing the signatures of residents confirming its mandate.

Seymour, legal counsel for the Hangberg-Hout Bay community, claimed the department contacted him on Thursday 24 October, saying the letter had been referred to the State law advisor and requested if the department could be given until Friday 1 November to respond.

“It is grossly unfair to treat the Hout Bay community in the way that they have,” said Seymour.

The CDC was closed on Tuesday 17 September after protest action broke out in the Hangberg area (“Community mulls way forward”, People’s Post 24 September). Basic health services resumed at the CDC on Monday 7 October (“Day hospital open – for now”, People’s Post 8 October) as part of the department of health’s (DOH) provisional services plan for Hangberg and Imizamo Yethu residents, until a temporary Hout Bay CDC site and venue was finalised.

Community activist Roscoe Jacobs says they have no choice but to turn to the courts because the provincial services plan is failing the community dismally.

“For example, take family planning. The community was told they could go to the Hout Bay Clicks store (Mainstream Shopping Centre) for free family planning on Thursdays (from 13:00 to 17:00). But only the first 15 people are helped for free. Those after has to pay for the service. What has been communicated and what is actually happening is totally different.”

People’s Post called the branch to find out if this was the case and was told that only 15 people, sometimes 20, could be fitted in to the allotted time slot.

Natalie Watlington, spokesperson for DOH said the department is committed to providing healthcare to all residents.

“Hout Bay CDC remains open, as well as the other service points,” Watlington said.

An additional facility at 30 Victoria Street has also been secured, which will render health services from early November. “We will continue to provide basic health services from the Hout Bay Main Road Clinic in Imizamo Yethu, the Hangberg Multipurpose Hall, and from Hout Bay CDC in Hangberg,” said Watlington.

“To improve easier patient access, we are also boosting the service to communities directly through the collection of chronic medication and other community based services. We believe that these additions will ensure improved health services to Hout Bay residents,” Watlington said.

  • A help desk is available at Hout Bay CDC. For inquiries, call 021 790 1050.

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