Exploration of the underlying causes of high waiting times at a community health centre in Cape Town, South Africa
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At public sector health facilities in Cape Town, South Africa, patients experience very high waiting times, with a medium waiting time of 3 hours which prevailed at the study facility being common. So the question arose as to why waiting times are so very high and what could be done to reduce them? While for the facility under investigation the immediate causes of the high waiting times were known, the underlying causes were quite opaque. A concern expressed therefore, was that if the underlying causes were not uncovered then efforts to reduce waiting times might not be successful, as they would just address the immediate causes. The legitimacy of the concern derives from the view that if underlying causes are not addressed, then they will continue to exert an influence on the immediate causes, and therefore perpetuate the environment which creates fertile ground for immediate causes to arise and persist, with resultant persistence of high waiting times. Hence, my interest to undertake research to explore the underlying causes of high waiting times.