An overview of customer service at a semi private hospital in Durban.
Service delivery in general within South African has been a bone of contention for its citizens. The healthcare sector is no exception, with numerous government hospitals frequently making headlines for lack of consumables, non-functional equipment, staff shortages and lack of proper hygiene, resulting in higher than normal infection rates. The introduction of the National Core Standards for South African Hospitals was introduced to improve the poor service quality within hospitals and aims to restore patient and staff confidence in the South African healthcare system. All public and private hospitals need to be compliant with either all or selected areas of these regulations based on their operating model. It was with this in mind that a descriptive study was conducted within the inpatient department of McCord Hospital, to determine if patients were satisfied with the service provided by the hospital. The objectives were to determine patients’ opinions of medical care, support services, waiting times and staff attitude in order to ascertain the strengths and weakness of the inpatient service. At the time of the study, McCord Hospital had 100 beds and therefore the sample required was 86. A quantitative study was conducted via an electronic questionnaire to obtain responses from patients regarding their experience of service during their stay in the hospital. The study revealed that the hospital provided a high level of service to its patient base, and patients were extremely satisfied with the service offered by doctors, nurses, administration, kitchen and cleaning staff. The study did not reveal any glaring weaknesses, however, areas for improvement such as doctors needing to spend more time educating patients on their health problems, improving the taste of food and reducing the waiting time at registration were noted. A number of recommendations were developed such as the need to reduce waiting times, offering language lessons to breakdown the language barrier and introducing performance management systems to monitor and incentivise excellent performance. A major limitation of this study was that it was cross sectional and only represented a single period in time.