Opening of Consolidated Service Laboratory at Groote Schuur Hospital | Western Cape Government


Opening of Consolidated Service Laboratory at Groote Schuur Hospital

30 November 2004
The Western Cape Minister of Health, Pierre Uys, and the CEO of the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS), John Robertson, officially opened a new R5 million state-of-the-art consolidated laboratory service at the Groote Schuur Hospital on 11 November 2004.

Previously, the Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) and University of Cape Town (UCT) laboratory complex at the hospital consisted of a number of laboratories located on multiple floors and in multiple buildings exceeded 3000 m2 of floor space. This situation was not conducive to effective management and support - and required expensive duplication of staff, equipment and other infrastructure. The new GSH Service Laboratory consolidates the automated and manual functions of chemical pathology, endocrinology, immunology, haematology and serology into a single laboratory with a saving of more than 2000m2 in floor space.

At the launch, Minister Uys said that his Department is the NHLS's biggest client in the Province. "Our expenditure for laboratory services from the NHLS for the 2004/05 financial year is projected to be approximately R191 million. Of this R103 million will be spent by the three central hospitals (GSH, Red Cross and Tygerberg), R57 million by the regional hospitals and R 31 million by the district health care service. This adds up to about 60% of the NHLS's budget in the Western and Eastern Cape."

"In this regard it is important that my Department ensures that there is an ongoing commitment by NHLS to provide an affordable cost effective laboratory service available to all levels of health care throughout our province. I believe that the type of consolidation of laboratory service that we are witnessing today will help in this regard. Of course, at the same time we must continue to ensure that the quality of service provided measures up to both national and international standards," said Mr Uys.

The newly Consolidated Service Laboratory at GSH will serve as a pilot project for setting up other similar laboratories in future and offers the following benefits to the community it serves:

  • Pathology laboratories need to provide a fast Turn-Around-Time (TAT) to assist with the effective diagnosis and treatment of patients. Close proximity to outpatients' wards, ICU's and trauma units require less logistics and consequently result in shorter TAT and therefore a better service.
  • Pathology laboratories (read pathologists, medical technologists and other laboratory professionals) will be in "closer" contact with their clients and patients, thereby increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of the clinical service.
  • The safety of staff has become a serious concern that is closely related to the isolated location of many existing laboratories. Since laboratories operate on a 24-hour basis, being in the hospital will provide a safer working environment for the staff and will undoubtedly lead to an increase in staff morale.
  • The increased (and future anticipated increase) use of public hospital facilities by private patients will definitely lead to increased service expectations with regard to availability of various pathology services.
NHLS, who runs the GSH laboratory as well as those at the Tygerberg, Red Cross Hospitals together with 13 regional laboratories in the Western Cape, came into existence as a result of the NHLS Act (Act 37 of 2000) and is the preferred provider of laboratory services to the Provincial Department of Health. The working relationship between the Health Department and NHLS is governed by a Service Level Agreement.

Contact: Pierre Uys: 082 455 5144
Media liaison: Herman van der Westhuizen: 082 772 9161

Media Enquiries: