News

New Somerset Hospital Celebrates 150 Years

19 May 2009
On 16 May 2009, the Department of Health's Somerset Hospital, along with the hospital's facility board hosted a horse racing event at the Kenilworth Race Course as part of the 150th celebrations of the New Somerset Hospital.

The first Somerset Hospital was built in 1818. Dr S Bailey, motivated by the need for a public hospital in Cape Town, used mainly his own funds to build the hospital. Around 1855 the hospital was found to be irreparable and the foundation stone for the New Somerset Hospital was laid on 18 August 1859.

Dr. Kurt Maart, Senior Medical Superintendent and member of the hospital's Facility Board said: "This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the New Somerset Hospital. We want to thank all of our sponsors and clients for their donations and generosity".

The funding has helped with vitally important diagnostic and monitoring equipment at Somerset, including:
- the commissioning of a new HIV/Aids Centre;
- an overnight Mothers Centre for breast feeding mothers or critically ill children;
- expansion of the Kangaroo Care facility;
- modern equipment for the Neonatal unit;
- modern diagnostic and monitoring equipment for the paediatric unit; and
- X-ray and ultra sound machines for the Radiology department.

All of the above has meant a dramatic improvement in the services rendered to patients. In addition, work is currently being done on supplying the Trauma Unit with equipment.

Alex Abercrombie, Director of Grand Slots made a donation of One Million Rand at the event. This contribution will see through to completion, work currently being done in the Trauma Unit.

Somerset Hospital achieved many milestones, and has a rich history which will be celebrated throughout the year. Some of the highlights include Somerset being:
- the oldest public hospital in the Cape;
- the first hospital to train non-white nurses;
- treated of the first AIDS patients in the Cape; and
- the first teaching hospital.

Somerset Hospital has the singular distinction of being the first public hospital in Southern Africa. After 150 years of the provision of health care in this area of Cape Town, Somerset Hospital continues to play an important role in the provision of hospital care to the citizens of Cape Town.

"It is a pleasure for me to congratulate the staff, management and board of Somerset Hospital on the achievement of this milestone", said Professor Househam, Head of the Western Cape Department of Health.

A special thank you to the corporate sponsors of Somerset Hospital:
Thou Slots
Eskom
Industrial Development Corporation
HCI Foundation
Totalgaz
Cool maintenance
Shoden data
Pres Les
The Dis-Chem Foundation

"There are too many donors to name all, but an enormous thank you to all the wonderful citizens and companies who have taken a keen interest in the health of our communities and donated to the upliftment of the New Somerset Hospital", said Dianne Pols, Director of the S.A. Medical and Education Foundation.

Issued by the Directorate: Communications for the Western Cape Department of Health.

Contact:
Myliesha Wakefield
Principle Communications Officer
Tel: 021 918 1292

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