Public Private Initiative at Mediclinic Vergelegen and Strand
Posted on 19 October 2017
It’s Saturday morning and in the sunny, newly built paediatric ward at Mediclinic Vergelegen, there is a tangible feeling of apprehension and excitement. Today, 10 public health patients (five from Red Cross Children’s Hospital patients and five from Groote Schuur) are about to undergo long-awaited eardrum repair surgery at Mediclinic Vergelegen and Mediclinic Strand.
Cassey, 7, plays with activity cards in her hospital bed under the watchful eye of her grandmother, Cecilia. ‘The problem in her ears has been affecting her performance at school,’ says Cecilia. ‘She can’t hear the teacher properly and because she’s off-balance she sometimes can’t walk properly either.’ Cecilia understands how important Cassey’s procedure is. ‘Life will be better,’ she says excitedly. ‘Cassey will communicate more, walk straight and be able to listen to music again’.
In theatre, Mediclinc Vergelegen ENT surgeon Dr Leon Nel and anaesthetist Dr Anthony Allwood, who have both volunteered their time, are ready to perform these life-changing tympanoplasty procedures. They both acknowledge it is a wonderful feeling to know they are restoring hearing, balance and dignity to their young patients.
These surgeries are part of the collaborative Public Private Initiative (PPI) programme that Mediclinic is rolling out across the Western Cape in collabaration with the Department of Health.
‘These children will have better hearing which will give them a better chance, educationally, going forward,’ says Dr Nel. ‘It will also give them better health – they will be able to participate in sports and they will no longer be teased at school because they have runny ears.’
Dr Bhavna Patel, CEO of Groote Schuur Hospital explains further. ‘In the public health facilities we have a high burden of disease, especially trauma cases,’ she says. ‘This means we often have to shift our elective (non-emergency) patients off our theatre lists – which results in longer waiting lists for these types of procedures. We are very honoured to be part of this PPI initiative because it helps us address the waiting list.’
Greg van Wyk, Chief Human Resources Officer of Mediclinic Southern Africa is also enthusiastic about the successful collaboration. ‘We believe it is important for all stakeholders within the healthcare industry to collaborate to relieve the pressures being experienced in the public healthcare sector. It must remain a priority for everyone in the healthcare sector to find South African solutions to our healthcare challenges.’
Before the end of the year, over 100 surgical procedures will be performed at four Western Cape-based Mediclinic hospitals as part of this significant partnership with the public health sector. While the first phase of this initiative is concentrated in the Western Cape, Mediclinic plans to pursue these partnerships in Mpumulanga, Limpopo and the Free State next year.