Residents get raw deal at East London clinic: DA

MARCH 23, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in the Eastern Cape says residents using the Collondale clinic in Ward 31 of the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM) are concerned about the availability of their clinic service, its cleanliness and the service they receive.

“In November 2014, residents were informed that the clinic would be open daily to treat patients, act as a family planning clinic and to dispense medication to those needing it.

“The clinic currently operates on a Wednesday only, with staff only being available to see patients between 11h00-14h00 as staff arrive late and close early. The clinic does open occasionally on a Thursday,” says the DA’s Sue Bentley* in a statement.

"Although the building is good, the state of the clinic is appalling. More often than not, knee high weeds and grass outside greet patients, while the clinic feels dirty inside. The toilets are in need of proper cleaning and one toilet does not flush. 

According to Bentley, there was a recent burglary at the clinic and many chairs were stolen which means that most patients have to stand for hours before being treated.

She said that patients have also queried the qualifications of the staff as no one wears epaulettes or a badge indicating that they are qualified to treat patients.

“They query the qualification of the person doing the blood pressure readings as at times she needs three attempts to be able to ascertain the readings for individual patients.  This situation obviously aggravates the lengthy waiting period for those still needing to be checked,” Bentley says.

“Two ladies are questioning the qualification of the Doctor on duty as they were given dangerously incorrect instructions for taking their respective medications:

  • Lady 1 was given Amoxycillin Trihydrate (antibiotic) and told to take 11 tablets every 3 hours. According to a qualified pharmacist this would have caused vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Lady 2, a diabetic, was given Lactose Monohydrate 40mg and told to take 2 tablets in the morning and evening and 6 tablets at midday – a qualified pharmacist has confirmed that this dosage would have caused her to go into a diabetic coma.”

She says patients are also concerned that all too often, there are medication shortages and that when medication is issued to them, it is not written into their individual clinic books.

“Most of the people attending this clinic do not have the transport or financial means to visit a private practitioner and therefore rely on the state for their medical needs,” Bentley says.

“The availability of the clinic needs to be adequate and they need to feel confident in the service they receive. I will be referring this situation to DA MPL Celeste Barker, the Shadow Minister of Health in Bhisho, for further investigation.”

*Bentley is a councillor in the BCMM.