The Dunoon Community Health Centre (CHC) officially launched its 24-hour emergency service on Monday February 6.
But a baptism of fire it wasn’t, as the emergency wards were quiet with just a few patients going in for X-rays for relatively minor injuries sustained over the weekend.
The centre, in Potsdam Road, Killarney Gardens, has been open since December 2014 and primarily offers services to Dunoon residents but is targeting its new emergency services to an estimated population of 90 000 in the surrounding areas of Joe Slovo, Sanddrift, Marconi Beam, Parklands, Table View, Albow Gardens and Milnerton.
One of those waiting for an X-ray in the trauma section was RonaldChenjerani from Dunoon. “I fought off my attackers who wanted to steal money and my cellphone on Friday night, and while I was trying to run away I fell and hurt my arm,” he said.
Nomawethu Mzeke, also from Dunoon, brought her daughter, Sibabalwe, 4, who had tripped and injured her knee while playing on Sunday and was also waiting for an X-ray.
In a domestic violence incident, Sisipho Makhinza, 21, sustained head injuries and was waiting to be treated.
Nosiviwe Bukaza, 37, had been hit by a car and injured her left leg on Sunday outside Shoprite in Dunoon but was fortunate enough to have been brought to the centre by the drivers of the vehicle.
The emergency centre started off treating about 70 patients a month in December 2014, but by December 2016 that figure had risen to almost 800 patients a month.
Injuries are mostly related to car accidents, assaults, burns and gunshots as well as chronic disease cases such as diabetes, hypertension and epilepsy.
Emergency paediatric cases are generally related to pneumonia and dehydration.
Before the launch of the new service, the hospital had offered an emergency service with extended hours until 8pm on weekdays and over weekends until 5pm, but growing demand had led to the change in its operational hours, said provincial Department of Health spokeswoman Monique Johnstone.
The facility does not offer maternity and obstetric services and expectant mothers will still need to deliver their babies at Vanguard CHC and New Somerset Hospital.
Day services continue to run from 7.30am to 4pm and the staff complement for the extended emergency care for day and night shifts is made up of two doctors, two professional nurses, two enrolled nurses and one administrator per night shift.
Ms Johnstone said the 24-hour facility meant patients would no longer need to commute to the New Somerset District Hospital for emergency care, alleviating congestion at that hospital.
For more information, call 021 200 4500.