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Saul backs Health e-filing system

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Similar digitalisation programmes also need to be rolled out in the Education sector, which would benefit Northern Cape schools and pupils

NORTHERN Cape Premier Zamani Saul, MEC for Health Mase Manopole, MEC for Education Mac Jack and senior government officials have returned from an engagement on a benchmarking exercise with the Western Cape MEC for Health, Nomafrench Mbombo, regarding the migration from paper to an electronic filing system in the health sector.

Many Northern Cape residents, especially the poor, have welcomed the provincial government’s announcement that it will be adopting the state-of-the-art filing system as it seeks to curb long queues and prevent the loss of patient information at clinics and hospitals.

Saul said that the visit formed part of his commitment to establish a modern, growing and successful Province with technology, digitalisation and industrialisation at the centre of this vision.

The visit also allowed for further discussions with United States Consul General Virginia Blaser regarding the Province and exploring areas of co-operation. Fields of interest to be looked at include education, health exchange programmes, the digitisation of libraries and economic development.

The delegation also toured Tygerberg Hospital to study and benchmark the digitalisation of its emergency medical services and patient filing system which renders a more efficient service in the health sector.

Saul pointed out that similar digitalisation programmes also need to be rolled out in the Education sector, which would benefit Northern Cape schools and pupils.

One city resident who has welcomed the migration plan is 50-year-old Sylvia Leeuw.

She spoke of having to struggle for years with her medical treatment plan and having to sit in long queues, only for her medical history files to be lost during “each and every” consultation at local clinics.

Leeuw said that it is an aggravating experience having to open a new folder every time she visits her local clinic in Galeshewe because of the poor filing system and “incompetence” by the clinic administrators.

“I am a chronic patient and it is always a hassle when I have to collect my medication. A new file has to be opened every time I arrive at the clinic,” said Leeuw.

She claimed that she has never used the same file for the past two years. “That is why I always take a picture of my information, and then present it to the nurses on my return.”

Leeuw said she wishes that she could take her file home with her and then present it herself every time she visits the clinic.

“When we come to the clinic we are separated and told that those who don’t have file numbers must sit on one side and waste time waiting to open a new file with a blank page in it. Why bother! They do that without consideration … they are the ones who lose our files. I just hope the Department of Health can find a solution to this filing problem as I believe that it is pure incompetence on their part.”

According to the spokesperson for the Premier’s Office, Bronwyn Thomas, the delegation to the Western Cape was unanimous in its assertion that there are various opportunities for the Province that warrant further engagement.

“Investment and economic opportunities that will benefit the people of the Northern Cape will be on the agenda for the proposed visit of the US consul and her team,” said Thomas

The delegation is also expected to look at areas of further mutual collaboration that will be formalised in a memorandum of understanding between the two provinces, after the two premiers resolved to establish a technical team that will indicate the parameters of the collaboration.