Temporary facility to ease patient flow

Staff and contractors at the handover of the consultation facility at Retreat CHC.

A new structure at the Retreat Community Health Centre (CHC) will make it easier for patients with minor injuries or illnesses to be seen to without going into the facility.

The temporary facility was constructed from containers which were converted into a block of consultation rooms and bathrooms to help ease the flow of patient traffic at the centre.

Before Covid-19 the Retreat CHC had already been running over capacity – the waiting room and other areas were always overflowing with patients and those accompanying them.

However, when Covid-19 infections started to rise, some drastic changes had to be made to ensure there were fewer people in the facility to mitigate the danger of Covid-19 infections.

The changes included having chronic medication delivered to patients, and allowing a maximum of one person to accompany a patient in cases of emergency.

Facility manager Susan Meyer said the facility was running optimally but they had to keep both patients and staff safe.

After being screened and checked, patients are now either sent to the temporary facility or inside depending on the severity of their case. “When there’s minor cases of injury or illness, the patients will be seen to there, and then will be sent home so they will not come into the facility and this will help the fight against Covid-19,” said Ms Meyer

The Western Cape Department of Health Southern sub-district spokesperson, Natalie Wattlington, said the department was in the process of setting up a re-escalating plan for services to be brought back to what they were, pre-Covid-19.

This plan will be phased in according to Covid-19 infection numbers and will be fully back to normal once the threat of local infections have subsided, she said.

Before the container facility was built, a local church had donated a tent for patients to sit under while waiting to be screened and helped (“Tent at Retreat hospital a saving grace for patients”, Southern Mail, May 29).

Ms Meyer said they were thankful to the church for its help and to the broader community for helping to keep patients safe and warm during the past few winter months.

Patient Carl Richmond, said the temporary facility would be of great help.

“It’s very good what is being done because we are all trying to keep safe and not get infected with Covid-19. One of the quickest ways for a virus to spread is at a hospital, so keeping us safe by not going in will help,” he said.