If you are reading this, and I hope you are taking note, please when you get to the end, would you post this on your page. This article is not actually about me, but about the thousands of voiceless people out there who are going through the same indignities that I have just experienced at the hands of incompetent admin staff at local hospitals. As a victim myself, I at least have sufficient knowledge and education to know what is wrong, but many other as fortunate as I am and are not as informed about their medical issues.
So here we go, and remember this is for them.
I was told in July 2017 I needed a colonoscopy. Without medical aid, I am one of many thousands who use the Government Health Services. The doctor said to make an appointment via the Bookings room at my local hospital. They said I was to phone back to them and they would give me the date of an appointment at an affiliate hospital. I phoned back, and phoned back, and phoned back. for months always being told that they had not yet secured an appointment. In the mean time my health was deteriorating to a point where every day things became impossible to handle. An instant stomach cramp results in an instant bowel explosion. I have washed my undies in a restaurant toilet, a theatre toilet, a shopping mall toilet and at friends’ homes. I cannot predict when or where this will happen it just does, and it is most unpleasant and embarrassing I can assure. you. Finally in January, having had four or five different clerks handle this request. I was at last given an appointment. The envelope from the doctor now had a word written on it that I knew was wrong. It said” Coloposcopy”. When I looked at it I told the clerk that was wrong because what I needed was a Colonoscopy. – big difference. He would have none of it.
So secure with an appointment, on the day appointed I was off bright and early, hoping to be the first one there to get it finished and done with. I got there before six, and the reception opened a little after seven. At about 7.10 I was called and I thought “Hooray” I will be first int he queue. But, to my surprise the lady behind the desk said I was at the wrong department and needed to go to the Emergency Room. I queried this but she was adamant. So away I went. There in the emergency room were many many people, in various states of ill-health and bandages, with open wounds, some still a little hung over from the night before.
I handed in my card and waited. Time passed and nothing happened. When my husband queried the slowness, they said they were waiting for my file from the filing room. When he remonstrated and said I did not have a file for this hospital s it was my first visit, he was told to sit down and wait for the file.
Who knows where they conjured one up from, but by 9.45 a file suddenly appeared and I was sent down the passage to another waiting room. Here were many pregnant women and others whom I learnt were waiting for other gynaecology treatments. I knew this was wrong, but sat. I was allotted ticket No. 5. However, their numeracy skills were different from mine as they called number randomly, like 9, 7, 4, 11, 8. I asked when 5 was coming up and was told, politely to sit down and wait my turn. I did. Eventually 6 was called and then miracle 5. I joined number 6 to go and collect a urine sample. On return I thought I would be dealt with, but no, we reverted to the illogical numbering system, and 6 went ahead of me after about four other numbers had been called. I shan’t bore you with the details of what then transpired but after testing my urine sample the nurse then noticed the word ‘coloposcopy’ on the doctor’s envelope. She said “You are in the wrong place.” When I asked why she said, “Are you here for a pap smear?” I shook my head vehemently. That was definitely not what I was there for so I told her, “No a colonoscopy”. “Well”, You need to be at another clinic up the passage. But they only start at 12h00. (it was now 10h00). “You will have to go there”. I asked where it was and she said “I will take you and show you.”
So we wandered through the hospital to another area, which was empty at that stage, as they only started at 12h00. She then explained my situation to the new nurse who told me that they did not have me booked in and that they were fully booked and would not be able to see me. With that I exploded into wrath and tears until the dear soul gently said to me, “You need to calm down. Sit on the bench over there and I will see what I can do for you.” So I sat and waited until 12h00 – another two hours on a hard bench. Eventually the doctors arrived and they started on their examinations of patients. Finally I was called by the nurse who explained that they would fit me in between other patients. Thank you to her for that!.
Well at nearly 13h00 I got to see the doctor, who was efficient, patient, and very professional. However because of all the prep work that was needed before the procedure I would have to come back again, bu that I would have to have an appointment a.s.a.p. So at 13.15 I was headed back tot he bookings room at the main reception. Hooray, I thought … until I got there – that section was closed between one and two. Holy geraniums! So once again I waited, to find that there were a whole group of people ahead of me. So once again we played the waiting game. When I finally presented my file with the instructions, the booking clerk flicked through her appointment book, saying the first appointment would be, now wait for it AUGUST!. Once again I lost it and said that wasn’t good enough. Whereupon she and I had words and she said if I didn’t like it I was to go back to the doctor and ask her about it. I took off like a rocket, bouncing into the doctor’s room whilst she was busy with another patient, poured out my tale of woe and she said to take a seat and as soon as she had dealt with the startled lady who was not in the chair she would talk to me. To cut an incredibly long story short, she spoke to the Chief of Surgery who then directed me back to the bookings with a letter saying I should have an appointment within two months at the latest.Back to bookings where the cheerful clerk now had a slanging match with me saying that the chief of Surgery knew she had no space, they were full. What was she supposed to do? I said, give me an appointment as instructed. She flicked through her book angrily, almost tearing the pages out in her fury, finally settled on 6th June and said, “6th June, that’s all.”
Well, I was past arguing and I took my little card with its appointment and left – it was 15h30 at this stage.
Next day I had to take a sample for analysis to the referring hospital, and decided to speak to somebody there, where the problem had started. I saw the Hospital Superintendent’s secretary asking for an appointment to see somebody. She listened to the long story then took me down to see the Supervisor of the Bookings Room who was in tears by the time I had finished my story.
The matter now rests with her and she says the least I should get is an apology in writing.
Well, as I have said, maybe this was necessary for those who are unable to speak up for themselves. I am their ambassador at the moment. I know of one woman who died from a liver complaint when she was also sent to the wrong department being treated for an ear infection. These things are happening on a daily basis.
Dr. Motsoaledi, is promising to jack up hospital service. This is where he needs to start, at the base level with the admin staff.
Please put this on your page for all those people who are being short-changed by this inefficient system.