Randburg Clinic will soon ‘throw away the keys’

Some remember medical clinics that stayed open 24 hours a day, never closing their doors to sick patients. Although this is the plight of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) caucus in Joburg, this reality is no more.
However, with an equal goal in sight, Mayor Herman Mashaba said one day he wants to be able to ‘through 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.

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

Randburg Clinic is one of the clinics that recently extended their 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. It is equipped with 10 nurses. Usually, you would wait around three hours to see a professional nurse.
This number, according to area manager, Shirley Maphosa, would decrease to one to two hours since the extended hours have been implemented.

“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 patients.

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 some days of the week.

“Nurses are clinically trained to see to sick people, but they will refer patients to a doctor if it is beyond 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.”

Throughout the 81 clinics in Johannesburg, 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 starts with the retrieval of your file, checking vital signs and finally waiting to be seen by a nurse.
“Nurses could spend around 30 minutes with one patient because even when someone approaches us with a psychological problem, we cannot shoo them away.”

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

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 closer clinics. With more and more people coming to this clinic after its hours have been 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
Metro Reporter

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