Lasting legacy: Groote Schuur Hospital CEO, Dr Bhavna Patel, retires after 23 years
After 23 years of unwavering commitment at Groote Schuur Hospital, Dr Bhavna Patel, CEO of Groote Schuur Hospital, will be remembered as one of the true legends in the public health system in the Western Cape when she retires on 31 January 2024*.
Dr Patel joined Groote Schuur Hospital 23 years ago as a public health registrar and has served in various senior management positions at the hospital. In 2013 she was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Groote Schuur Hospital and steered the hospital on a journey of excellence and world-class healthcare over the past 10 years.
During her tenure, Dr Patel has been pivotal in leading the hospital through a period of growth, innovation, and challenges, such the COVID-19 pandemic, where Groote Schuur was a beacon of hope for many patients. She was also instrumental in building many lasting relationships with donors, the private health sector, the Hospital Board, and other stakeholders, who will continue to support the hospital’s future strategic goals.
As a champion of building a strong leadership culture, Dr Patel also initiated a leadership development programme for the hospital’s management team, which has grown from strength to strength. This investment in leadership will ensure that she leaves a lasting legacy. Throughout her career, Dr Patel also achieved seven degrees, and graduated with her PhD in Leadership in 2022. She will also be remembered for her unwavering commitment and dedication to her staff and one of her major investments in staff wellbeing was the opening of the Groote Schuur Hospital Staff Wellness Unit.
Dr Patel, together with her team of managers and health professionals, spearheaded many legacy projects and operational improvements in the functioning of the hospital, including opening the Neonatal Unit in 2015, the new hospital entrance in 2021, and the Adolescents Unit in 2022. Through these projects, the services at Groote Schuur Hospital continues to demonstrate how it values the dedicated contribution made by staff towards quality patient care.
Reflecting on her immense contribution over the past 23 years, Dr Patel expresses her appreciation to her colleagues, the Groote Schuur Hospital team, and the people of the Western Cape: “I am truly humbled and honoured to have served this wonderful institution and communities of the Western Cape and wish to express my deepest gratitude to all my colleagues, staff, and patients for the opportunity to be CEO of Groote Schuur Hospital. I leave with many fond memories of the last 23 years and have built friendships that will continue forever. I also believe that I leave our hospital well positioned to overcome any challenges and face the many opportunities to remain a national and international leader in healthcare. It has been a privilege to have served you.”
“Dr Patel has served the people of the Western Cape and beyond with distinction, as the CEO of Groote Schuur Hospital, and part of the senior management team of the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness. Groote Schuur Hospital has achieved many remarkable milestones in the delivery of high quality, world-class healthcare services during her tenure. Dr Patel has led the hospital team with impeccable leadership and grace. She leaves a legacy of excellence in public service. She is widely respected for her invaluable contribution on many fronts in the Department. It has been a great honour for me to have worked with her as colleague and friend over the years. I wish her well in her retirement,” said Dr Keith Cloete, Head of Department, Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness.