ByMpho Shelile

In a bid to enhance patient care and accommodate the ever-growing demand for medical services, an increasing number of filter clinics, Likotsi Filter Clinic, Mabote Filter Clinic and Qoaling Filter Clinic have made a significant decision to extend their operating hours to a 24/7 schedule on the 25 January at Likotsi Filter Clinic last week Thursday. This shift represents a transformative approach to healthcare delivery, with benefits ranging from improved patient outcome to enhanced resource utilization.

Dr. Ngoyi Kaumbo from Likotsi in his opening remarks indicated that as society becomes more fast-paced, the need for accessible healthcare has intensified. Stating that this clinics extending their working hours to operate 24/7 align with the changing lifestyle and work patterns of individuals, ensuring that medical assistance is available at any time of the day or night. “One of the primary advantages of 24-hour hospital operations is the potential to alleviate congestion in emergency rooms. By spreading out patient visits over a 24-hour period, I believe that we can better manage patient flow, reduce waiting times, and provide more immediate care to those in critical conditions,” said Dr. Ngoyi

However he said that while the move to 24/7 operation presents numerous benefits, hospitals must also address challenges such as staffing requirements, fatigue management, and potential changes to the workflow. Adding that strategic planning and robust support systems are essential to ensure the sustained success of extended operating hours.

The Manager of Nursing Services Sister Catherine Lebina stated that the decision of hospitals to operate 24/7 reflects a commitment to meet the evolving needs of the community and improve the overall healthcare experience. Sister stated that by embracing continuous care models and leveraging technology, healthcare institutions are poised to enhance patient outcomes, reduce emergency room congestion, and adapt to the changing dynamics of modern society. “As this trend continues, it has the potential to shape the future of healthcare delivery, making quality medical services accessible to all around the clock,” she said.

She further stated that healthcare emergencies can happen at any time, and that people may require urgent medical attention or access to essential services during non-business hours. So operating 24/7 ensures that individuals can seek medical help whenever they need it, reducing the risk of delayed treatment in critical situations. “Not everyone can access healthcare during regular business hours due to work, family, or other commitments. Offering 24/7 services provides flexibility for patients to seek medical assistance at a time that suits their schedule,” said Sister Lebina.

She further added that being available 24/7 fosters a sense of community engagement, adding that clinics that operate around the clock demonstrate a commitment to the well-being of the community and its residents. “Reminding them that illnesses and medical conditions do not adhere to a schedule. Patients may develop complications or deteriorate at any time, necessitating the availability of medical services at all hours Immediate care is crucial in emergencies, and a 24/7 clinic like Likotsi can provide life-saving interventions and stabilize patients before transferring them to specialized facilities,” she said.

When addressing some of the challenges that may come with working 24/7, Dr. Kasanti Benjamin Ngote indicated that Medical emergencies can occur at any time, and immediate care is often critical for positive outcomes such as, accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and other emergencies require prompt attention, which is only possible in a 24/7 operational setting. He advised the minister of health to start recruiting and retaining a skilled workforce willing to work irregular hours, because for some it can be challenging.

In his remarks the minister of health, Hon. Selibe Mochoboroane noted that strengthening primary health care plays a key role in achieving overall health system effectiveness. He also stressed that primary health care is instrumental in addressing health differences by providing essential services to underserved and marginalized populations. Stating that it helps bridge the gap in healthcare access and outcomes between different demographic groups.

“I believe that strengthening of primary health care is essential for building a resilient, equitable, and efficient healthcare system that can effectively meet the health needs of individuals and communities,” said Hon. Mochoboroane. He therefore promised that they will get the stuff needed to ensure that there are better results in the health sector. He then concluded by commanding this initiative the three clinics are doing stating that he hopes that this reaches even remote areas.