The fast queue service point : the analysis of the quality of care for primary health care users in eThekwini district, KwaZulu-Natal
Sokhela, Dudu Gloria
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This mixed methods study aimed to assess the functioning and processes of the Fast Queue Service Point in order to analyse the quality of care rendered in primary health care (PHC) facilities in the eThekwini district of the KwaZulu Natal Province in South Africa. The Fast Queue Service Point provides service in PHC facilities for health care users requiring short consultations. Congestion of PHC facilities is a result of increased access to PHC services with the introduction of free PHC services. This congestion was aggravated by the decentralization of services from hospitals to PHC level such as the introduction on Nurse Initiated Management of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (NIMART). In 2010, the National Core Standards (NCS) for health establishments were formulated further to the PHC Service package, to address issues of quality. An explanatory sequential mixed methods study design was used and data collection was conducted in two phases; the quantitative data collection phase consisting of two subsets of observations namely; the retrospective record review and structured observations of the Fast Queue Service Point process. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22 was used to analyse data. During the second phase semi-structured interviews were conducted with PHC staff members to describe their experiences of the Fast Queue Service Point and to clarify issues from the quantitative phase. Although Fast Queue Service users received sufficient care, there were important care assessments that had been inadequately performed or omitted. These included discussing side effects of medications and or immunizations and management thereof. Childrens' weights were not interpreted, an important aspect for children under five years of age. There was also lack of supportive supervision coupled with shortage of resources and too many time-consuming written records that were required to compile accurate statistics. Retraining and in-servicing of health personnel and making resources available, would assist in strengthening patient assessment, management and recording thereof. While clinic managers require to offer supportive supervision to health care providers, provision of lower categories of staff would be beneficial in supporting PNs and ENs so that they have time to compile records for statistics purposes, which were found to be taking up the bulk of their time. The framework for continuous quality improvement in implementing a Fast Queue Service in PHC settings was developed based on the findings of the study
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