All day hospitals in the city are notorious for bottlenecks resulting in long hours of waiting, but Delft had by far the worst reputation. In the past patients spent up to eight hours going through the system at this facility.
Now they can be out of the centre in four hours due to improved management, signage and drug supply to these centres.
Western Cape Premier Ebrahim Rasool announced in May, during his state of the province address, that the supply of medicines would be improved, facility managers would be appointed and waiting times would be reduced to more acceptable levels.
Rasool, health MEC Pierre Uys and top health officials visited the Delft community health centre yesterday, where Michelle Gordon, a senior nurse, has been appointed facility manager.
Besides Delft, fulltime facility managers will be in place by tomorrow at Elsies River, Kraaifontein, Retreat, Vanguard, Khayelitsha Site B, Hanover Park, Gugulethu and Mitchell's Plain.
Previously these facilities did not have full-time managers, which meant that senior doctors had to deal with the administrative side of the hospitals. Since May the signage at these hospitals has been improved information is now clearly marked and patients can choose the relevant help-window dedicated to their particular needs at the entrance.
Fast lanes have been introduced at the pharmacies for patients collecting medicines for chronic conditions. The availability of medicines has also been improved by identifying the most commonly used drugs and delegating the authority to pharmacies to procure these on the open market should supplies run out.
Front-desk managers will be appointed within the next two months at the nine centres to deal with patient queries.
Rasool described the improvements as"fairly impressive". "For the first time full- time managers run and have an overview of these facilities. The critical thing is that when you have a manager you can predict when you will run out of medicines, and act on it".
"We had to reduce the waiting times and flow through of patients and all it took was improved management,"he said. He said the steps would be extended to 10 other facilities in the metropole before the end of March. (Source: The Cape Argus, 31 August 2004