News

Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital Introduces Saturday Surgery Initiative

19 October 2011

The Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital and the Children's Hospital Trust have partnered with Medi-Clinic Southern Africa to fund the first ever "Saturday Surgeries" initiative at the hospital to alleviate extensive waiting lists for life-changing surgical procedures. The Saturday Surgeries project will take place from 22 October to 10 December 2011 and Medi-Clinic Southern Africa will fund the project to an amount of approximately R260 000, with the hospital carrying costs for consumables, theatres and inpatient care.

"The idea is that once a big volume of these non-emergency cases are taken off the waiting list, there would be scope for more flexibility for theatre lists during the week. More complex cases which are also a priority could then be given some additional time created by the reduction in the waiting lists," said Dr Anita Parbhoo, Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital Manager of Medical Services.

"Such procedures are normally performed as a day surgery, with no overnight stay being needed in most patients. The waiting list for these patients currently extends well into 2012 - with an average eight-month wait. Long delays such as these result in many patients missing their dates. This means that the patient has to rebook, hence a cycle of prolonging the wait again. This is not in keeping with our patient-centredness."

Elective surgery is not usually conducted over weekends at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital and this Surgical Waiting List Initiative will provide an extra day of elective surgery for a period of eight weeks. The initiative will make use of existing theatre and recuperation space, ordinarily not used on Saturdays, by funding an extra day of surgeries.

Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said: "This partnership will result in life-changing surgeries which will bring physical comfort to a great many children and their families. The project will also reduce the general paediatric surgeries backlog significantly."

"We are grateful to Medi-Clinic for donating the funds to make this pilot project a reality and to the Trust, general and clinical staff who will be making it a reality."

As the fundraiser for the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital and paediatric healthcare in the Western Cape, the Children's Hospital Trust undertook the hospital's proposal to raise funds to decrease the surgical waiting list. Saturday Surgeries will be divided into five weeks for general paediatric surgery and three weeks for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgery. This amounts to a total of 71 clinical cases being cleared from the hospital's waiting list.

"Medi-Clinic Southern Africa has been a loyal donor of the Children's Hospital Trust for the past seven years and we are so appreciative that they've come on board to fund this very special project. To have the world's sixth largest private medical group giving so generously to a charitable organisation to benefit a government hospital is testimony to greater things to come in terms of corporates supporting non-profit organisations," says Philippa Douglas, Fundraising Manager at the Children's Hospital Trust.

"These long waiting times not only mean that children have to live in discomfort for considerable periods of time, but can also lead to more serious medical complications. Alleviating the pressure on the Hospital for ENT and General Paediatric Surgery will result in starting 2012 without a long waiting list," says Dr Sharon Cox, Paediatric Surgeon at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.

"Medi-Clinic Southern Africa believes in a progressive approach to the delivery of improved healthcare in South Africa and as such our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme is an important part of achieving that objective. This joint venture with a world-class paediatric facility dedicated to providing affordable treatment for children in need is part of our tier one CSI platform, which comprises partnering with public hospitals to provide access to quality health care to a broader section of our society," adds Dr Mvula Yoyo, Transformation Executive at Mediclinic.

The Children's Hospital Trust's intention is to continue the "Saturday Surgeries" project, impacting on other surgical specialities.

Minister Botha said that this was exactly in line with the Western Cape Government Health's future strategy: "We hope to expand this project to include Tygerberg Children's Hospital and later, general surgeries across a variety of our facilities. I wish the team well and eagerly await the positive benefits to our young patients and their families."

Media Enquiries: 

Lauren O'Connor-May
Principal Communications Officer
Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital
Cell: 084 586 1413
Tel: 021 658 5448
E-mail: rxhpro@pgwc.gov.za