George Hospital's Emergency Centre Officially Opened by Minister Botha
George Hospital’s Emergency Centre was officially opened by the Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, on 8 October 2012.
Construction of the hospital’s Emergency Centre commenced in June 2011 at a cost of R8 million for the infrastructure and an additional R2.4 million for equipment, forming part of the R121 million refurbishment of George Hospital.
Western Cape Health Minister Theuns Botha says: “The official opening of the Emergency Centre marks another achievement in this provincial government’s commitment to bring quality health services closer to our people. George Hospital will play an important role in the national department’s National Health Insurance pilot project in the Eden District, and for this reason I am proud that the upgrade of George Hospital is now almost complete. The last phase, the construction of the psychiatry ward will go out to tender soon and estimated time of completion is mid-2013. In the past two years I have seen how the structural improvements at our health facilities – even if it is a lick of paint – have improved our staff morale. I cannot improve their remuneration packages, but I can improve their working conditions, and I believe that the new emergency centre here will go a long way to improve the patient experience, because the working conditions will improve the feeling of wellness.”
Features to the Emergency Centre include:
- An increase in resuscitation beds from two to four beds (including paediatric resuscitation beds) and ten examination beds, including all applicable monitors, ventilators and other equipment with a dedicated bed for children.
- A new digital X-ray machine. Traditional X-rays will not be printed anymore, and medical staff will be able to look at the images on special computer screens in the Emergency Centre as well as on all desktop computers in the hospital. This will be possible within 5 minutes after the X-ray is taken.
- A well-resourced, eight-bed overnight observation ward for patients that need to be observed for up to 12 hours.
- An improved waiting area as well as a family counselling room.
- Dedicated examination rooms used by primary healthcare nurses to see and treat patients with less serious ailments.
- A Thuthuzela Care Centre for children, women and men who are victims of sexual violence.
For many years, George Hospital provided emergency services under difficult conditions and, with the new Emergency Centre, there will be adequate space and equipment to cope with the emergency-related cases that arrive at the hospital. Between 100 and 120 patients visit the Emergency Centre per day.
Staff will now be able to provide an even better healthcare service to clients who in return have to take responsibility for their own health. The Emergency Centre currently has a minimum of three doctors on duty during the day and a minimum of two doctors on duty at night to ensure that a Medical Doctor is always available to attend to patients. The hospital appointed two new Professional Nurses to its Emergency Centre and will recruit two additional Primary Healthcare Nurses to treat patients with less serious ailments and try to reduce patient waiting times, especially after-hours.
The Emergency Centre will continue to cater for patients with less serious ailments that need medical care when community health centres and day clinics are closed (after 16:00 and during weekends). There is a separate entrance to the Emergency Centre for ambulances and emergency cases.
George Hospital’s Emergency Centre forms part of the Western Cape Government’s investment in health infrastructure throughout the province. The new unit will certainly assist to provide an improved emergency health care service to the people of the Southern Cape.