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Challenges that healthcare practitioners experience in the comprehensive assessment of patients with non-communicable diseases: a preliminary investigation

Lynn Smith
Heather Morris-Eyton
Habib Noorbhai
Yoga Coopoo


Background: Resource allocation and access to comprehensive treatment in the public healthcare sector are always under pressure. This pressure takes the form of staff shortages, treatment models and the holistic care of patients, compromising basic healthcare in South Africa.

Objectives: The study’s aim was to determine the challenges that healthcare practitioners experience while assessing patients with non-communicable diseases, in private and public healthcare sectors in the Gauteng Province of South Africa.

Methods: The research design was exploratory and contextual. Qualitative data were collected through focus groups and semi-structured interviews among healthcare practitioners (n = 12). Data analysis took place using Atlas.ti 8.4 Windows (2020). Inter-rater reliability (r = 93.68%) was calculated to ensure the rigour and validity of the results.

Results: From the discussion, four themes emerged: 1) limited consultation time; 2) overwhelming economic impact and healthcare cost for facilities and patients; 3) holistic patient care encompassing physical, mental and socioeconomic compo- nents; and 4) lack of patient education due to time constraints experienced by healthcare practitioners.

Conclusion: Consultation times are reduced due to a shortage of medical staff, patient numbers, equipment, and poor working conditions. By improving these conditions, patients across all socioeconomic groups will be better assisted, treated, and educated, benefiting from equal access and quality healthcare.

Keywords: Healthcare practitioners; non-communicable diseases; qualitative research.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1729-0503
print ISSN: 1680-6905