What’s the use of Emergency Center at Hospital?

Today I have a burning question and I wonder if anybody here in South Africa have and explanation for me.

Yesterday I took my mom to the Emergency center at Hermanus Mediclinic only to find out that there are NO doctors on duty at the emergency center. The not so eager receptionist told us that they do have a doctor on call and they first need to call the doctor at their rooms  and that the doctor on duty will charge an call out fee of R650.  Madam You must pay the R650 cash but the good news is when you get home you can claim it back from your medical aid fund.

Really ? Are they serious? Call out fee? What is this countries private hospital’s coming to? Emergency Center without a doctor?

Why bother calling it an emergency center?

I would still sort of understand it if I went to the  provincial hospital around the corner of the Mediclinic. Most of the doctors at the provincial hospitals work for very little money and allot of them work for free. But a private hospital offering a service as a emergency center and there are no doctor!!  Then to tell me that I must pay an call out fee for a  doctor that is suppose to be at the emergency center? That kite did not fly with me.

Luckily my mom’s situation was not a life or death one, but say for instance it was a life and death situation?  It would take the doctor approximately 10 to 20 minutes to get to the hospital.The traffic was hectic because of the whale season and it’s school holiday too so that means extra people in Hermanus. I would say the fact that it’s holiday itself is more than enough reason for the Emergency Center to make sure they have sufficient emergency staff including a doctor.  10 to 20 minutes may be too late in some instances I would say…..

I was so shocked about the whole scenario  that I asked the not so eager receptionist to point us in the direction of the  nearest doctor. The first doctor was booked fully and could only help us the following day. The very friendly receptionist at the doctor rooms told us to try the doctors around the corner of them and explained to me how to get there.

I got to the not so full doctors rooms  and asked at reception if I could make an appointment for my mom. They asked me if I live in Hermanus when I told them no she told me that I can bring mom she must sit and wait till a doctor is free. We sat and wait for more than 2 hours. There were 4 doctors at the rooms and I timed the appointments 45 minutes per patient. The people in Hermanus must be very very sick to have an 45 minute appointment. In the city your appointment is never really longer than 20 minutes. The people in Hermanus may approve of this kind of service but to let a patient wait 2 hours so that you can catch up on the months gossip is not for me….

After the doctor helped my mom I saw that we still have time haha so I took my chance and asked the doctor how can a emergency center not have a doctor on the premises. He just shook his head and said that maybe they don’t get enough patients. Well no damn wonder they don’t get any patients everybody already knows there are no doctor to see so why waste time…..

The doctor and I talked about the hospital and what if  I had an life or death situation. He agreed that 10 minutes can be to late…. He then said to me and I quote him “we both know that the emergency services in this country will not get any better in the near future.” This is a very scary thought. I told him then I must refresh my first aid skills or even go for a paramedic course and he thought it’s a great idea….

If I can not rely on hospitals with emergency center’s to save my children’s live ‘s then I must take things in my own hands…


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