Public health service poor, says youth

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Most young South Africans believe services offered at public health care facilities are not up to scratch, a survey revealed on Wednesday.

About 54% of young people surveyed said they were not satisfied with the treatment they had received at government hospitals and clinics, consumer insights company Pondering Panda said.

Forty-four percent said the treatment they had received was fair or very good.

A total of 1849 respondents from across the country were interviewed for the cellphone survey. The interviews, with people aged between 18 and 34, were conducted between March 14 and 18.

Provinces receiving the most criticism

The Gauteng public health system received the most criticism, with around 63% of Gauteng respondents saying the service was dissatisfactory. Limpopo and Mpumalanga came in second with 60%.

Many of those surveyed said the attitude of health workers, especially nurses, made the situation worse.

Almost two thirds, (64%) said nurses in state clinics and hospitals did not care about the people they treated.

More than half of those surveyed (51%) said doctors had a caring attitude, while 44% said there was room for improvement.

Pondering Panda spokeswoman Shirley Wakefield said it was clear the youth was not happy with government health care.

"Exacerbating the situation is the fact the nurses are seen to be uncaring. Doctors fare considerably better... However, with the pressures on South Africa’s health care system, doctors and nurses may also not have the time or resources they need to provide the standard of care patients deserve."

Wakefield said the responses were weighted to be nationally representative in terms of age, gender, and race.

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