by Isak Fritz, MPL – DA Spokesperson of Health
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Date: 24 April 2018
The DA is concerned by the provincial Health Department’s failure to properly administer its patient transport service.
In particular, sick patients in outlying areas of the province, especially Hantam, Namaqualand and the Victoria-West area, depend on patient transport to take them to bigger facilities for treatment, and then take them home again. Poor management of patient transport, however, has seen this life-saving service turned into a mockery.
Patient transporters are known to transport friends and family on return trips to centers like Kimberley, for shopping. This is at the expense of sick people, who are often left stranded at health facilities, waiting in vain to be transported home to their loved ones.
Only last week, patient transporters failed to take an elderly cancer patient back to Springbok and a 14-year old cancer patient back to Victoria West. The patients came to Kimberley on Tuesday and received chemotherapy on the Wednesday, after which they were due to return home. The patients only prepared for a one night stay over but the drivers of the patient transporters left them behind without having duly informed them of the travel schedule. In the end, they both had to stay over until the Friday.
It is disgraceful that sick people are treated with such disdain.
The patients in question did not pack enough supplies and changes of clothing, and were left at the mercy of the health department. What they really needed, however, was the love and care of their families. Sadly, theirs are not isolated cases.
Patient transporters are clearly operating without a system and without checks and balances. How is it even possible that they can leave patients behind, surely they have some sort of a booking system? Patients and their families should be fully informed of the patient transport schedule upfront.
The DA will pose questions relating to patient transport in upcoming legislature committee meetings. Drivers, who are failing to properly effect their duties, treating patients without respect and patient transport vehicles as their own personal taxis, need to be disciplined.
Where the DA governs, patient transport makes the lives of our sick and vulnerable patients easier, it does not add more stress and anxiety to the lives of those battling illness. The sick people of the Northern Cape need a more caring health system. This will only materialize with Total Change and ultimately the DA taking over the running of the health department.
Isak Fritz, MPL
DA Spokesperson of Health
083 395 2737
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387