The maze that is the government health system….

See previous post about Priv and her bun in the oven.

Priv goes down to her local clinic, which is in Milnerton.

She goes on Wednesday last week, and leaves our house just before 08h00 to get to the clinic.  We know she is pregnant, she has had a fetal assessment centre scan – so she is going for them to check her blood pressure, her weight and have a measure and a feel around.

Seems reasonable.

I had a busy day, and got home with the kids around 17h30 – I thought she was in her room, and I carried on with the evening.  I sent her an SMS, and at about 19h00, I went to knock on her bedroom door to check she was okay and see what the clinic said.  No answer, and I think “shame, she is exhausted I will let her sleep…

At 19h30, I start to wonder why I have not seen her, and now I start to worry, and go back and knock on her door with a bit more force.

I picked up my phone to call her, thinking she must be fast asleep, and saw that she had sent me a message at 18h40.  She was still in the queue, her phone battery had died and she had used the phone of the person sitting next to her.

It is not about 20h00 and no sign of Priv.  I start trying to reach people I think she might have walked to.

I tried to call her just in case.  I then called the number on my phone and spoke to the person who sat next to Priv at the clinic.  She had left the clinic at 19h45, and she is already home, she does not know where Priv is.

Now I was really worried.

It is dark – it is really late.  I know the taxi’s that run no longer run to our area.  How the hell is Priv going to get home?  How the hell am I going to figure out where she is?

Now I am panicked.  I am tried to work out if I should wake the kids and put them in the car and start driving around aimlessly screaming “Priv!!!  Where are you?” out the window like a crazy person.  I am weighing this up, and trying to work out whether I should go in my jammies or not, when I hear out front door unlock, and Priv walks in – it is 20h30!

{long story about how she walked and caught a taxi, and eventually went into a block of flats, someone took pity on her, and packed up his family into his car and gave her a lift to our house}

The clinic had kept her there the entire day.  After hours of waiting, she was told she needs to wait for the pre-natal nurse who arrives at 15h00.  Each patient takes 45 minutes, and that is where the time went, she did not want to leave as she knew that she would have to repeat the exercise and tomorrow might be worse.

She is exhausted, she looked a bit traumatised – I think sitting in a government clinic all day might put you in a position to see too many things you pray you do not ever have to witness.

And for the cherry – she had to return in the morning to have her blood taken, as the nurse who takes blood had gone home.

So we headed back to the clinic on Thursday morning, another three hours later she had her blood drawn.

10 minutes to draw blood, 2 hours 50 minutes to find the files that had been misfiled on top of a filing cabinet by the night nurse who had left the night before.  Of course she had to wait for them to find the file for them to draw blood — makes sense.

Priv will need to remain at this clinic, until she is past 32 weeks, then they will refer her records to the clinics which are closer to our (and her) home – they say they are not willing to refer her before that.

I asked her which hospital she will deliver at, she says she does not know.

I get the sense from her, that she has to continue going to the day clinic.  She goes there and if she thinks she is in labour, at that point they refer her to a day hospital to deliver.

Do bear in mind she needs to get to the day hospital by herself while a baby is threatening to appear out of her vee-jay-jay.

She said that they told her not to call an ambulance if she goes in to labour, they will not come fetch her.  Right well, now we know – I am off to buy a Golden Arrow bus card for her, because clearly even head out of vee-jay-jay is not a reason to call an ambulance.

If the birth has complications the day hospital then will then refer her to a hospital like Karl Bremer (which is close by) or Groote Schuur (or the day hospital will close and send her to the hospital or home…) – the hospitals deal with complications.

And here I was thinking a hospital was there to help someone say when they are giving birth or have cut off their leg with a salad fork.

I cannot imagine anything more long winded with gaps to where a baby can be delivered in a taxi or on a street corner, or in my kitchen with the aid of my Carrol Boyes salad tongs.

Or am I missing a key point here?

{I know, I bet you are now laughing at my wait at the emergency clinic for plus two hours with an ear infection, clearly I just needed some perspective on that issue to really fully appreciate how fantastic that service was}

My question is:  Are there OGBYNs who practice at government hospitals, so you pay a fee to consult with them – which might be slightly less than the cost of actually just buying a new lung.

Where the OGBYN sees you, and then when you deliver, you deliver in the government hospital he or she refers you to?  And he/she only comes along if there is an emergency?

I tried to phone Karl Bremer and Groote Schuur and the message was very clear: “Fuck off and leave us alone, we are too busy for your suburban problems!”  They did not say that, though the sub-text was clear. They did say they only take referrals for high risk births and then told me to go away.

I have googled the crap out of this, and have not really come to any other conclusion than what I understand above.

Does anyone (who really knows) know any better, or can offer advise on how to circumvent find a better method of working?

Or is this just the way it is, and I best take a chill pill and start cleaning my salad tongs, and boiling the kettle.