State-of-the-art Medical Imaging Department opened at Red Cross
Thousands of Africa’s littlest patients will receive world-class Radiology and Nuclear Medicine treatment following the unveiling of a multi-million rand Medical Imaging Department at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town on Thursday, 20 August.
The new department consolidates the services of the Hospital’s existing Radiology and Nuclear Medicine departments. These critical services are accessed by every department, ward and clinic at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, which sees over 40 000 patients a year. Prior to construction, these services were split over four sites on two separate floors, affecting patient flow and space negatively.
The R51 million project was funded equally by the Western Cape Government Health and the Children’s Hospital Trust, which relies on the committed support of donors. Western Cape Government Health also invested R23 million on radiology equipment for the new department. With critically ill or injured children’s lives depending on doctors’ ability to make fast and accurate diagnoses, the Medical Imaging Department will increase capacity and comfort as well as efficiency. Separate waiting areas for inpatients and outpatients have also been designed to ensure that children with potentially contagious infections are not a threat to others and those with low immune systems are not at risk.
The purpose of the busy Radiology Department is to provide x-rays, CT scans and MRI’s for patients while the Nuclear Medicine Department uses radioactivity to create images of organs and diseases and is the only dedicated paediatric nuclear medicine facility in South Africa.
“The Radiology Department opened in a small area of the B floor in 1956 with three staff members and an X-Ray machine. As the complexity of medical imaging has evolved and our department has grown, we have become one of the busiest in the Hospital with 44 staff members who operate out of four separate areas of the Hospital to provide a comprehensive imaging service,” says Dr Tracy Kilborn, Head of Clinical Unit of Paediatric Radiology.
She explains that the new Medical Imaging Department, encompassing Nuclear Medicine and Radiology, will now operate from one integrated area that has been designed to cater to the digital environment that doctors work in. With new X-Ray rooms, Ultrasound, Fluoroscopy and Nuclear Medicine Units, workflow and efficiency has been optimised with the intention of improving the experience of patients, caregivers and the staff.
CEO of the Children’s Hospital Trust, Louise Driver, says, “With thousands of patients needing access to radiology services, the state-of-the-art Medical Imaging Department will significantly improve the standards of healthcare offered to Africa’s sickest children. Not only will it provide adequate space to facilitate more patients, but it will also enhance the experiences of both the children and the staff. We are so grateful to all of our loyal donors for helping us to raise the required funding to build and equip this life-changing facility,” says Louise Driver, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Trust.
Construction on the Medical Imaging Department began in September 2013 and in less than two years, the building is complete, on budget and well within the anticipated timeframe. Its unveiling was attended by key stakeholders and donors, with a keynote address by the Western Cape Premier, Helen Zille.
“The Western Cape Government is proud to once again partner with the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in this innovation. We believe our contribution will go a long way in serving the thousands of patients who rely on these services. I commend the hospital and its stakeholders for taking the bold steps required, despite various challenges to ensure that Red Cross Children’s Hospital continues to lead in providing world-class medical care,” says Zille.
Dr Kilborn says, “The new state-of-the-art department highlights the value of partnership. Without the committed and tireless fundraising by the Children’s Hospital Trust and the considerable contribution from the Province, this dream could never have happened.”