Key issues in clinic functioning - A case study of two clinics

I. D. Couper*, J. F.M. Hugo, J. M. Tumbo, B. M. Harvey, N. H. Malete

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. The aim of this research was to understand key issues in the functioning of two different primary care clinics serving the same community, in order to learn more about clinic management. Design. An in-depth case study was conducted. A range of qualitative information was collected at both clinics. Data collected in the two clinics were compared, to gain an understanding of the important issues. Setting. Data were collected in a government and an NGO clinic in North West province. Subjects. This report presents the findings from patient and staff satisfaction surveys and in-depth individual interviews with senior staff. Results. Key findings included the following: (i) there are attitudinal differences between the staff at the two clinics; (ii) the patients appreciate the services of both clinics, though they view them differently; (iii) clinic A provides a wider range of services to more people more often; (iv) clinic B presents a picture of quality of care, related to the environment and approach of staff; (v) waiting time is not as important as how patients are treated; (vi) medications are a crucial factor, in the minds of staff and patients; and (vii) a supportive, empowering organisational culture is needed to encourage staff to deliver better care to their patients. The management of the clinic is part of this culture. Conclusions. This research provides lessons regarding key issues in clinic functioning which can make a major difference to the way services are experienced. A respectful and caring approach to patients, and an organisational culture which supports and enables staff, can achieve much of this without any additional resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-129
Number of pages6
JournalSouth African Medical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


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