New Burns Unit: Ensuring Better Patient Outcomes and Increased Emotional Support | Western Cape Government


New Burns Unit: Ensuring Better Patient Outcomes and Increased Emotional Support

14 September 2011

MC Helen White, German Consul-General,
Herr Hans-Werner Bussmann CEO of the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital,
Dr Lungi Linda Chairman of the Trust,
Mr Chris Niland CEO of the Trust,
Ms Louise Driver Patron of the Trust,
Ms Amanda Bloch,
The Burns team under the leadership of Prof Heinz Rode Manager of Medical Services,
Dr Anita Parbhoo, Donors, Media, Guests.

"Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see." - Neil Postman, The Disappearance of Childhood (introduction), 1982.

We have been looking forward to this occasion for months now. Over the past year, I have personally enquired about the progress with the upgrades at this unit, and what we share today is a truly momentous occasion, for our provincial government, for this hospital and for the children who will live and work here when our time has passed.

I would like to reiterate how proud the Western Cape Provincial Government is to have South Africa's only dedicated children's hospital as one of our four central hospitals.

The hospital plays a vital role as the "end of referral chain" for large areas of the country. It delivers a significant service to patients from other provinces and other African countries.

There are various single-site services that make this hospital unique:

  • National paediatric liver transplant centre.
  • Provincial centre for paediatric cardiac surgery.
  • Provincial centre for paediatric heart transplants.
  • And the provincial specialised unit for paediatric burns, which we are opening today.

The hospital is funded via Provincial Equitable Share (PES), National Tertiary Services Grant (NTSG) and Health Professions Teaching and Development Grant (HPTDG). The current year budget for this hospital is R463 million out of a R13 395 billion provincial health budget.

Background to the Upgrades at the Burns Unit:

The old C2 ward where burns were treated was a completely normal ward that had been adapted over the years for the needs of burns patients, but it was not ideal. There were upgrades in 2003, 2006, 2008 and 2010, but this upgrade has now transformed the ward into the only specialised paediatric burns unit in Sub-Saharan Africa. The ward was always on par with international standards, but I am proud and relieved that the ward is now acknowledged as a unit.

This hospital treats 3 500 burns patients a year. Bear in mind that children are treated in the Burns Out-Patient Clinic too.

Although the unit is now larger - 603 square metres - the upgrades do not comprise a growth in capacity, but in specialisation. Six of the 22 beds are now isolation cubicles.

The construction upgrades at the Burns Unit required special attention because burn wounds are inherently septic in nature. Cross-contamination is a problem. Professor Rode and Professor Van As will refer to the detail of the upgrades.

I am so happy that we are able to introduce this unit today that will offer a better hospital experience to patients and the carers, who are already highly traumatised. Now we can ensure better patient outcomes and increased emotional support. The isolation cubicles and temperature control will significantly reduce the risk of cross-infection. Now we can focus on better long-term rehabilitation for patients.

The Burns Team:

We are fortunate to have Emeritus Professor Heinz Rode as the manager of the unit. He was appointed in recent months as the manager of burns in the province. He is an internationally acclaimed burns expert and has vast expertise and experience.

He is supported by three specialists, 27 nurses and a dietitian, an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, social worker, stomaltherapist and a voluntary art and music therapist.

Media Enquiries: 

Helene Rossouw
Media Liaison
Cell: 082 771 8834
Tel: 021 483 4426