Randburg Clinic will soon ‘throw away the keys’

Do you remember when medical clinics stayed open 24 hours a day, never closing their doors to sick patients? This, however, is no longer a reality.

With this goal in sight, Mayor Herman Mashaba said one day he wants to be able to throw away the keys to each of the City of Johannesburg’s clinics. On the way to realising this, to date, six clinics’ hours have already been extended.

Randburg Clinic is one of the clinics that recently extended its hours from five days a week to seven days a week, including public holidays.

Between 5 000 and 6 000 patients visit this clinic monthly, which has10 nurses on call. Usually, one would wait around three hours to see a professional nurse.

This number, according to area manager Shirley Maphosa would decrease by one to two hours since the extended hours have been implemented.

Read: Councillors Corner: Are all clinics extending their hours? 

“It’s good for the community; people can arrive after 4pm. These days it can be difficult to get off during the week,” she said and added that since the extended hours, the clinic has seen more trauma incidents after hours, especially stab wound victims.

Clinics, being primary healthcare centres, provide medical assistance in most cases, even TB, mental health and HIV treatment. Emergency operations however would be referred to a state hospital. Doctors are available at clinics, but only on some days of the week.

“Nurses are clinically trained to see to sick people, but they will be referred to a doctor if it is above their scope. It is necessary to have a doctor at a clinic all the time, but they have to attend to other clinics in the region,” said Maphosa.

Throughout Johannesburg’s 82 clinics, not one has a full time doctor but you could still walk into a clinic and expect to receive a sick note and medicine from a professional nurse, at no cost. The process begins with the retrieval of your file, checking vital signs and finally waiting to be seen by a nurse.

Read: Hikinsile, Albert Street, Zandspruit and Randburg clinics will extend their hours on 1 April 

“Nurses could spend around 30 minutes with one patient because even when someone approaches us with a psychological problem, we cannot shoo them away.”

Situated next to the Randburg taxi rank, the clinic is a hub of sorts.Operational manager, Mikateko Mokgobi said patients come from all over Johannesburg, even if there are clinics closer to them. With more and more people attending the Randburg clinic after its hours were extended, additional safety precautions have been taken and more staff employed. Both Mokgobi and Maphosa encourage residents to make use of extended hours, which they eagerly welcome.

Chantelle Fourie

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