The sign boards at the entrance to Louis Trichardt Memorial Hospital. Photo: Kaizer Nengovhela.

Long queues cause health risks for patients

Date: 07 June 2024 By: Kaizer Nengovhela

Patients at Louis Trichardt Memorial Hospital continue to complain about having to wait in long queues for often inadequate medical attention. According to several patients who recently visited the institution, individuals often wait more than six hours, sometimes the entire day, without receiving treatment.

One such patient, Ms Idah Mutele, said that patients from the Sinthumule/Kutama area and Tshikota township often arrived at the hospital early in the morning, but left at sunset without being attended to. Another patient, who wished to remain anonymous, shared a similar experience of standing in line for more than 10 hours before receiving treatment.

Samuel Mukhathedzwa, a 62-year-old man, described the harsh conditions of waiting outside in the cold, only to sometimes leave without assistance. “It is not nice to be outside the hospital in cold weather. Some of us might not even get assistance. This has been happening for a very long time in the hospital, without any form of improvement. My health was compromised. I was physically and emotionally drained,” Mukhathedzwa said.

During a visit by this newspaper, patients were observed standing in long queues, with many expressing their frustration over the lack of timely medical attention. The hospital's poor service is a significant concern, particularly for those with chronic conditions and the elderly.

Mr Neil Shikwambane, spokesperson for the Department of Health, explained that the hospital serves a population of over half a million people and is supported by five feeder clinics. He said that many patients chose to visit the hospital for services available at local clinics, which added to the problem of overcrowding.

Shikwambane mentioned that efforts were made on 9 May to inform the community about the challenges faced by the hospital and potential solutions during a meeting at the Sinthumule Tribal office, with plans to visit the Kutama tribal office soon. He added that patients not adhering to scheduled visit dates exacerbate the long queues. Shikwambane said that the department was addressing the issue of staff shortages by implementing a shift-work system to distribute staff better according to daily needs.



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Kaizer Nengovhela

Kaizer Nengovhela started writing stories for Limpopo Mirror in 2000. Prior to that he had a five year stint at Phala-Phala FM as sports presenter. In 2005 Kaizer received an award from the province's premier as Best Sports Presenter. The same year he was also nominated as Best Sports Reporter by the Makhado Municipality. Kaizer was awarded the Mathatha Tsedu award in 2014.


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