Western Cape Health MEC Opens Red Cross' New Surgical Ward | Western Cape Government



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(Department of Health, Western Cape Government)

Western Cape Health MEC Opens Red Cross' New Surgical Ward

20 September 2010

The new D1 Specialist Surgical Ward at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital opened on 21 September 2010. This milestone is thanks to the unique private-public partnership that exists between the Provincial Government of the Western Cape (PGWC) and the Children's Hospital Trust, the Fundraising Arm of the Hospital. This partnership is unique to South Africa and was established in 1994 when the Trust was established. The total cost of this upgrade is R11.5 million and PGWC contributed over R4.5 million towards building costs. The Children's Hospital Trust raised the remaining funds to upgrade and equip the ward.

Upgrading Ward D1 aligns it with other wards in the Hospital that have already been upgraded and moves a step closer to the ultimate goal of upgrading all the inpatient wards at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital. The Provincial Government of the Western Cape (PGWC) contributed fifty percent (50%) of the building cost for the remaining three wards.

Ward D1 had not been upgraded since the Hospital was built in 1956 and was unable to meet modern surgical and nursing needs. Sick children from newborn to early teens are admitted to Ward D1 before, and after, surgical procedures, which include primarily orthopaedic, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, cardiac and hand surgery. This ward caters for more patients than any other in-patient ward at the Hospital, with approximately one hundred and eighty (180) admissions per month.

Ward D1 will continue playing a significant role in providing training and teaching across all categories of staff as well as research and rehabilitation. Since the completion of the new state-of-the-art Operating Theatre Complex in September 2009, it is critical that inpatient wards are on par with its level of advancement. It will now efficiently accommodate all types of surgical cases and its increased space, and modern design, will reduce the risk of cross-infection. Dedicated hospital staff work in a high stress environment and will now have a tearoom with a kitchen and lockers for crucial tea breaks. This high activity ward will have increased storage space freeing common areas of clutter.

Theuns Botha, Western Cape Health Minister said: "Provincial government is proud to have the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in our portfolio, and that we are able to offer children the best level of care available in this country, if not the world. The Children's Hospital Trust is doing a fine job in the management of sponsorships to upgrade our wards".

"The challenge for the public health service is to deliver excellent value for money care that will result in wellness. While the provincial Department of Health prides itself on being one of the better performing Departments in the country, health services operate under immense pressure. Symptoms include the high bed occupancies in our hospitals, the frequent need to divert ambulances between hospitals, an inability to timeously secure intensive care beds for critically ill patients, the long waiting times at our clinics and the long waiting lists for surgical procedures."

"It is necessary that all involved in the care of patients recognises the need to strengthen and expand our health service platform. What is needed is a whole-of-society approach that mobilises our resources, knowledge, creativity and concern of all role players. With their generous contribution, our sponsors recognised their role and the opening of surgical ward D1 is a step towards our goal of wellness."

"The new upgraded ward will improve the Hospital experience for the sick child, their families as well as dedicated Hospital staff. The increased efficiency of this new ward will help to reduce patient recovery time, patient stress and make patients and their family's hospital stay more pleasant. New comfortable waiting area, space for parents to stay at their child's bedside, improved ablution facilities which will also accommodate wheelchairs. The aesthetically pleasing environment with televisions, rehabilitation facilities, waiting rooms for families and sufficient space for families by the bedside are crucial to provide emotional support which will positively affect the prognosis of a sick a child. It will further increase training potential for staff, assist with staff retention and morale as well as provide the tools for excellent patient care", explains Dr Lungi Linda, CEO of the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.

"The Children's Hospital Trust is delighted to officially open the D1 Specialist Ward today together with the Provincial Government of the Western Cape. This is the first completed ward as a result of the partnership with the Province and we are looking forward to continue working closely to ensure that the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital remains the centre of excellence for which it is renowned the world over" says Louise Driver, CEO of the Children's Hospital Trust."

"The Trust has been supporting the Hospital with capital needs projects since 1994 and it is fitting that the D1 Specialist ward, which deals with many pre-and post surgical patients is now on par with the Hospital's new state-of-the art Operating Theatre Complex which opened in September 2009 and for which the Trust is proud to have raised R125 million. We are grateful for the support of the Province, Hospital Management, the dedicated medical staff as well as the generosity of all our donors which are helping us move a step closer to the ultimate goal of upgrading all the inpatient wards at the Hospital", says Driver.

For more information about the Children's Hospital Trust and future projects at the Hospital, please visit www.childrenshospitaltrust.org.za or phone 021 686 7860.

Background information on Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital:

  • Hospital staff strives to provide the best possible medical, surgical and nursing care with the shortest hospitalisation possible. To achieve this efficiently Ward D1 urgently required a critical upgrade to continue managing its patient load, varied patient type and activity. In addition the ward plays a significant role in providing the best possible training and teaching for staff and families and plays an active role in research and rehabilitation.
  • By upgrading the ward, the Hospital will be able to:

Accommodate the numbers of children operated on with more ease.

    1. Provide better working conditions, which will help to attract and retain high quality surgeons and nursing staff;
    2. Ensure quicker recovery time for patients, reducing bed and nursing time, thus saving costs and patient stress; the-childrens-hospital-trust
    3. A more effective layout and additional space will reduce the risk of cross-infection.
    4. Give greater space to be utilised for staff, patients and families with a waiting area and sufficient space for parents to be at the bedside of their child;
    5. Provide an environment for patients that is functional, comfortable, child-friendly and attractive;
    6. Increased space will provide a new entrance, staff rest rooms, dedicated admission office, waiting area and kitchen facility thereby eliminating congestion.

The Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital Basic Facts:

  • The Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital is the only stand-alone, specialist hospital in southern Africa dedicated to children
  • The Hospital manages around 250 000 patient annually. 98% of patients are from marginalised communities and a third are under a year old.
  • The Hospital is a public tertiary and secondary level State hospital, funded by the PGWC. Since 1994, the Children's Hospital Trust has been assisting the Hospital to upgrade its buildings and equipment and to develop its professional staff. The Hospital's patients are referred from the Western Cape, the rest of South Africa, Africa and in rare instances, the rest of the world.
  • The Hospital has two hundred and ninety (290) beds for inpatients and seventy three (73) outpatient clinics.
  • For the 2008/2009 financial year the PGWC had an operational budget of R359 million for the maintenance and upkeep of the Hospital. Once the Ward D1 has been upgraded it will be the responsibility of the PGWC to maintain it.
  • The Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital is respected the world over because of its many successes and milestones. Groundbreaking work includes the first open-heart surgery on a child and the first paediatric heart transplant in South Africa. The first liver transplant programme for children in Africa. The first combined liver and kidney transplant on a child and the first successful separation of conjoined twins in South Africa.
  • The Hospital provides training to paediatric health care professionals from the entire sub-continent and does important research into the illnesses of childhood.
  • In association with the University of Cape Town's Health Sciences Faculty, it is a major centre of learning with the School of Child and Adolescent Health (SCAH) on site. A wide range of paediatric disciplines are taught and the research done here is particularly relevant because it is set in the South African context and contributes enormously to the advancement of child health in developing countries worldwide. Specialists from countries including Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda have already benefited from training at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.

The Children's Hospital Trust Basic Facts:

  • The Children's Hospital Trust is the independent, non-profit Fundraising Arm of the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.
  • one hundred percent (100%) of donations to the Trust go directly to the Hospital and not a single cent is spent on administrative costs.
  • The Trust prides itself on sound financial administration and good governance, working on specific projects in partnership with the Department of Health which runs the Hospital.

Issued by:
Directorate Communications
Western Cape Department of Health

Media Enquiries: 

Lauren 'O Connor
Principle Communications Officer
The Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital
Tel: 021 658 5448

Cell: 084 586 1413

Helene Rossouw
Media Liaison
Western Cape Ministry of Health
Tel: 021 483 4426
Cell: 082 771 8834
Fax: 021 483 4143
Email: herossou@pgwc.gov.za