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Clinix responds to allegations

Commenting on recent speculation around alleged resignations at Clinix Phalaborwa Private Hospital, Jan Scheepers, hospital manager confirmed that over the last couple of months a lot of effort had gone into raising the levels of care and service at the hospital.

“As a group, Clinix Health Group really values the communities in which we operate and strive to provide only the highest standards of service and levels of care. Feedback is critical from our patients and we have been listening and working hard to correct any areas which needed improvement in Phalaborwa,” says Scheepers.

Scheepers said when first joined the hospital in October last year he advised that it was necessary to increase the staff complement in a number of areas, both on the clinical and admin side.

Staffing is a very important issue in any hospital and a common problem is the general skills shortage in the health care sector which is highly challenging for any hospital.

“Clinix were already evaluating the service levels and we quickly realised we needed to upgrade and increase the nursing staff to raise our general level of care. This obviously takes a bit of time but over the last 3 months we have added another 15 – 16 senior nurses to the hospital. We have also identified some management gaps and have added another 10 positions there. It is unfortunate there have been some resignations but unfortunately specialist and staff movements are not unique to Clinix. Yes we have sadly lost one of our physicians recently but we are well down the line on some new appointments which we can announce very shortly. We are also working closely with the GP’s in the area to encourage more referrals which will attract new specialists. On the marketing side we have two key positions to fill,” says Scheepers.

While the hospital is not running at full capacity, Scheepers explains that some of the key specialist positions are run on a specific structured schedule which is the norm in most hospitals of this nature.

“If we were a city centre hospital for example then we would have a full complement of full time specialists and GP’s. As we are classified as more of a rural hospital the model changes slightly. So in our case we have a core specialist complement who are full time. These would include your gynaes, physicians and paediatricians. We then have other specialists who only work a couple of days a week on specific days. It really is a case of demand and supply and would not make sense to have these specialists full time. In this area you would find for example ENT’s Orthopods etc. If the hospital numbers increase this could of course change,” he says.

Scheepers says a lot of progress has been made already in all areas, and regular monthly checks are being carried out to benchmark and manage standards and service levels.

“Our patient satisfaction scores are a good indicator of how successful we are. “I am pleased to report that of the 379 patients interviewed to date, the satisfaction level has improved to about 75%. The industry standard is about 80% and that is what we are aiming towards.”

A number of employees are members of NEHAWU so the hospital has also been in close discussions with all employees and with NEHAWU and have held a number of meetings. “There were concerns about flexi staff but I genuinely believe we have satisfied their concerns and found a way to help our staff while we are working so hard to increase the occupancy at the hospital,” he says.

We are fully committed to the Phalaborwa community and can play such a valuable role for residents who required a private hospital in their area. We’ve also invested with the Phalaborwa Health Group who own 40% of our hospital and really look forward to turning the hospital around.

“In fact three of their directors also sit on the Clinix Board so we are in close consultation. In terms of dividends, again it all comes down to numbers. As soon as we can get our numbers up the hospital will become profitable and a dividend can be declared.” “We feel confident there is a bright future for Clinix Phalaborwa Private hospital. As the only private hospital in the area for this community, with the nearest other private hospital being 120km away in Tzaneen, we need the support of the community. We are happy to report that there has also been further investment into the hospital which shows Clinix’s commitment to providing the best possible care to its patients. A new dialysis centre and retail pharmacy will be opening shortly and further details will be released in March.

In order to win back confidence and trust we are very conscious we need to offer the community the highest level of care and that is what we are working to correct. We have enough GP’s in the area and enough specialists to service the community well,” concludes Scheepers.

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