Phetogo Clinic, a health care facility that sometimes shuts doors at 11:30am in the morning, has sparked great concern for the remote community of Gladstone, in the outskirts of Thaba Nchu.
A community member, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the Phetogo Clinic is sometimes closed for over a week and the staff work irregular hours because they knock-off at different times, as early as 11:30am.
“I board a morning bus to Phetogo Clinic at 8am but the nursing staff will arrive at 10am and then cut the queues saying they don’t’ have much time because they are leaving at 1pm,” says a resident.
According to many, nursing staff behave as if they are doing them a favour by providing them with health care services.
The challenges faced by Gladstone residents are not unique to the area.
Residents of Tweefontein, another remote village, have raised similar concerns stating that the nurses only arrive around 10am but by 2pm, they have already knocked off.
“They [nursing staff] arrive at 10am and go for tea break at 11am. When they return they claim to do stats and then their transport arrives to fetch them before 2pm. They only leave behind the cleaner and the clerk every day. People come from as far as Springfontein to queue for consultation but they are often told to walk back home because the nurses didn’t report for duty,” says a Tweefontein resident.
The nursing staff working at both Phetogo and Tweefontein Clinics don’t live in those villages and commute to work daily.
Speaking to OurHealth on condition of anonymity because residents fear to be ill-treated by staff, many say these challenges have been going on for many years but they are now “used to them”.
According to the Department of Health, Phetogo and Tweefontein Clinics should operate from 7:30am to 4pm.
Phetogo Clinic services seven surrounding villages including Gladstone, Yoxford, Woodbridge One and Two, and Tabale while Tweefontein Clinic services four villages: Tweefontein, Grootdam, Rietfontein, and Springfontein.
The Free State Department of Health hasn’t responded to numerous attempts for comment. – Health-e News