Opening Ceremony of the Western Cape Academic PET/CT Centre
Programme director, Mr Manubha Ramdunnie of NTP Radio isotopes,
Executive director of NTP Radio isotopes, Dr Mapula Letsoalo,
DDG: Secondary, Tertiary and Emergency Care, Dr Beth Engelbrecht,
CEO of Tygerberg Hospital, Dr Dimitri Erasmus,
HOD Nuclear Medicine, Medical Imaging and Clinical Oncology, Professor Annare Ellmann,
Representatives of iThemba LABS,
Representatives of Philips Healthcare,
Distinguished guests and media,
Today is a celebration and a demonstration of the inert growth potential posed by the health economy of the Western Cape. I feel proud that we can present a partnership here today - the public and private sector joining hands to offer advanced technologies to our people that will eventually grow our economy and our state of well-being.
This is a true partnership. The Western Cape Department of Health put R14.75 million on the table for a tomography centre and NTP Radio isotopes pledged R15.6 million for the computed tomography scanner - a total of R30.35 million. This centre positions the Western Cape once again as a trendsetter - the first centre of this kind at a public health facility.
Thank you, NTP Radio isotopes, for giving so generously for this cause. The cost-saving implications of this technology is phenomenal, and also means that greater numbers of patients will be treated more appropriately, with improved outcomes for all. This is such a great example of the public and private sector working together for the well-being of the people of the Western Cape.
The Western Cape Government's Healthcare 2020 vision encompasses some very challenging goals, but at the centre of this vision are our patients. The vision for 2020 is patient-driven, meaning that every aspect of our healthcare system will be perceived and thought through from the perspective of the patient and the patient's experience of our health services.
It follows that in order to stay on par and set the trend in this country and this continent, we need to invest in our infrastructure, our facilities and our equipment. There is no way that the state's purse can have the capacity to invest in state-of-the-art technologies. The state's purse provides for the bare necessities.
So in the Western Cape, in order for this province to grow our economy and create job opportunities, we have to find a way to invest in our health infrastructure without delving into the provincial health budget. Today I can honestly stand back and say - we have found a way. The private sector is partnering with the public sector. This centre we are opening today is a monument to that cause.
We face some remarkable challenges:
- 4.6 million people depend on public health services in the Western Cape.
- Our health facilities handle between 15-17 million patient visits annually, including patients from other provinces. This is the highest per capita figure of any region in the country.
- During the previous decade, 570 000 people emigrated to our province. We estimate that at some facilities close to informal settlements one of five patients is from other provinces and African countries.
Western Cape's Health Economy
In order to support the argument about the health sector's potential to grow the economy and create jobs, I'd like to share some statistics with you about the contribution of the Western Cape healthcare sector to the national Gross Domestic Product:
- The total output of the Western Cape public and private healthcare sector is estimated to be R29.7 billion.
- The public and private health sector employs about 75 800 people, but if you take the multiplier effects into account, the sector sustains more than 157 000 jobs.
- The employees in the sector earned R10.1 billion in salary and wages, at an average of R133 400 annual salary per person.
- In terms of percentage, the provincial contribution amounts to 14.5% of the national GDP.
- The sector generated tax revenues to the tune of R1.2 billion.
- In the period 2004 to 2010 the sector's growth was 3.1% per annum on average.
The noteworthy fact is the sustained 3% growth - even during the 2008/2009 recession, which reflects the defensive nature of the sector not being affected by economic cycles. In fact, the growth pattern is consistent with evidence that health spend tend to increase in times of economic recession.
In order to put the current size of the Western Cape health sector in perspective, it is interesting that 14% of the country's hospitals are located in this province - 89 versus 626.
The province ranks second in terms of the number of private hospitals and third in terms of the number of public hospitals in the country.
The Western Cape hosts more than 13% of the country's beds - roughly 3.2 hospital beds per 1 000 of the population. The national bed ratio is 2.5 per 1 000 population.
These statistics prove that this province has all the potential to expand its health economy. I believe that we are breaking new ground. Public-private partnerships leverage the talents of the private sector for the benefit of public sector patients. It is based on a win-win philosophy that improves the physical health of patients and the financial health of the economy. It means that we all have a future that will be better together.