Serving 5 300 people a month in a clinic with 14 consulting rooms and 20 staff members did not stop Suurman Clinic in Hammanskraal, north of Pretoria, from being named the Best Improved Clinic in the Tshwane district.
The people behind the success of the clinic are the 15 nurses, three clerks and two data capturers, who start their day at 7am to attend to the first patient working hard until they see the last one at 5pm when the clinic closes.
The clinic is open weekdays and on Saturday from 7am until 1pm.
One of the nurses at the clinic, Sister Ignatia Nkhumishe, says there is a spirit of togetherness from staff members, which contributes to the clinic’s accomplishment.
“We all have a very good working relationship with each other. We respect each other and have a very positive attitude. We all have the same vision of professionalism and providing service,” said Sister Nkhumishe.
Suurman Clinic provides the full primary health care package, which includes medical male circumcision, women’s health, antenatal care, chronic disease management and HIV management.
Anna Mojasagwe, a resident of Suurman who visits the clinic regularly, sys she had never experienced any problems at the clinic.
“The nurses are so pleasant and even though at times it is full, they try their best to speed up services. I also feel very proud to know that in my community our clinic is one of the best,” said Mojasagwe.
Turning the clinic around
Sister Nkhumishe says after receiving a 67 per cent rating on the National Core Standard Assessment Tool, the staff went back to the drawing board seeking ways of improvement.
“With regards to cleanliness our previous score stood at 42 per cent and our main challenge was not having cleaners in the facility.”
The intervention made was to get six volunteers from the Expanded Public Works Programme who cleaned the clinic by following a daily cleaning programme.
“There was also daily monitoring by the quality assurance champion and infection control team. Along with monthly analysis on questionnaires distributed to the patients to rate the clinic on cleanliness.”
She added that there was also a new arrangement with the procurement team to supply cleaning material timeously.
As a result of the intervention, the clinic scored 65 per cent for cleanliness.
On the availability of medicine, the clinic scored 57 per cent and in order to improve, staff members supported the pharmacy assistant with stocktaking.
In addition, every Saturday one nursing staff helps the pharmacy assistant.
The clinic was rated 89 per cent on the availability of medicine.
Regarding positive attitude, Sister Nkhumishe says the clinic previously scored 66 per cent previously but is now at 99 per cent.
She says some of the intervention strategies included ensuring that consultation rooms were prepared before the clinic opens.
“The staff were also given continuous information regarding changes and developments at the facility.”
The National Core Standards Assessment tool is available and accessible to all teams at the clinic.
“Self assessment and team assessment is done quarterly. Our manager also gives feedback from the suggestion box on a monthly basis.”
She adds that the clinic was previously rated 59 per cent on public health awareness and their current score is 72 per cent.
“We do monthly events that are in accordance with health awareness days on the health calendar.
Sister Nkhumishe says teamwork has contributed to the success of the clinic.
She adds that each professional nurse is allocated a domain within the clinic to be in charge of and also presents a report to staff on the functionality of the section.
If gaps are identified from these reports an action plan is introduced and monitored monthly to fill the gaps.
The facility also gets full support from the sub-district quality assurance coordinator.
Chief Director for Tshwane District Health Services Mothomane Pitsi, who is from the Gauteng Department of Health, said Suurman Clinic won the Best Improved Clinic in the district because of its performance when measured on the National Core Standard Assessment Tool.
He added that the clinic had moved from 67 per cent to 84 per cent in their last assessment.
“Benchmarking on best practices from institutions like Suurman will help other facilities to improve,” said Pitsi. Meanwhile, the Department of Health is planning to roll out the Ideal Clinic Realisation Maintenance programme to all clinics over the next five years.
This programme will see the improvement of the quality of care provided in over 3 500 primary healthcare facilities around the country, which consists of government clinics and community health centres.