Referral System : Levels of Health Care

Primary Health Care Clinic

A Primary Health Care Clinic is the first step in the provision of health care and offers services such as immunisation, family planning, anti-natal care, and treatment of common diseases, treatment and management of Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS counselling, amongst other services.

If the clinic cannot assist, they will refer the patient to a Community Health Centre.

Community Health Care Centre

A Community Health Care Centre is the second step in the provision of health care but can also be used for first contact care. A Community Health Care Centre offers similar services to a Primary Health Care Clinic with the addition of a 24 hours maternity service, emergency care and casualty and a short stay ward. The Community Health Care Centre will refer a patient to a District Hospital when necessary.

District Hospital

This is the third step in the provision of health care. These hospitals will normally receive referral from and provide generalist support to community health centers and clinics such as diagnostic, treatment, care, counselling and rehabilitation services. Clinical services include Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Out-Patients Department, Medicine, Peadiatrics, Mental Health, Geriatrics, Casualty and Clinical Forensic Medical Services amongst other services. These hospitals receive referrals from the Community Health Centres and Clinics. Most care will be delivered by doctors and primary health care nurses.

If the District Hospital cannot help a patient they will be referred to the local Regional Hospital for treatment.

Regional Hospital

This is the second level of health care. These hospitals will normally receive referral from and provide specialist support to a number of district hospitals.

If the Regional Hospital cannot help they will refer to the Provincial Tertiary Hospital.

Provincial Tertiary Hospital

These hospitals will receive referral from and provide sub-specialist support to a number of regional hospitals and is the third level of health care. These hospitals are staffed by specialists and generalists and offer services such as neurosurgery, neurology, Plastic & reconstructive surgery, Cardiology, Urology, Paediatric surgery, maxillio-facial surgery, Psychiatry, Occupational health and Orthopaedics amongst other services.

If a Provincial Tertiary Hospital cannot help they will refer to a National Central Hospital.

Central Hospitals

The fourth and highest level of health care. These hospitals will consist of very highly specialised referral units which together provide an environment for multi-speciality clinical services, innovation and research. People are referred to these hospitals by Provincial Tertiary Hospitals.

Specialised Hospital

These hospitals will provide care only for certain specialised groups of patients. They will include chronic psychiatric and TB hospitals, as well as specialised spinal injury and acute infectious disease hospitals.

Issued by Corporate Communication, November 2014

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This page last edited on 30 November, 2021

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