The Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital and the Children's Hospital Trust have once again partnered with Mediclinic Southern Africa to fund another series of "Saturday Surgeries". This initiative will provide an extra day of surgery on Saturdays for 12 weeks to lessen the hospital's long waiting list for general, ENT and plastic paediatric procedures. The Saturday Surgeries Initiative will commence on 1 September 2012 and end on 24 November 2012, and will be funded by Mediclinic Southern Africa at a cost of approximately R200 000.
The Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital does not usually conduct elective surgery over weekends and an extra day of surgery will significantly reduce the hospital's waiting list for life changing procedures. The hospital will arrange the use of existing theatres, recuperation space, and consumables in the day surgery unit, ordinarily not used on Saturdays, while Mediclinic Southern Africa's funding will cover the costs of the clinical staff and nurses.
Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, says: "The Saturday surgeries are an example of a successful collaboration with the private sector, and is an example of an initiative that really relieves the load. It is sad that the so-called not-so-urgent surgeries always get moved to the end of the queue when very urgent surgeries are required. Last year the Saturday surgeries relieved the long waiting lists for the not-so-urgent surgeries and these patients can now continue with their lives, and the hospital and staff is under less pressure. It is a true example of being 'Better Together' - our government slogan."
Reflecting on the 2011 project
"The eight week project in 2011 was a great success. We have therefore decided to increase the scope of the project and extend it to 12 weeks. This allows us to accommodate three surgical specialties that have long waiting lists - general paediatric surgery, ENT surgery and plastic surgery. The cases that will be done during the project have been carefully selected as these are performed as a day case, with the majority of patients going home at the end of the day," says Dr Anita Parbhoo, Manager: Medical Services at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.
Dr Parbhoo says this project will have a positive effect on the waiting lists for the procedures done and will increase theatre efficiency. It also has a very positive effect on the hospital as it boosts staff morale.
The Saturday Surgeries Initiative is a result of the hospital's plan to decrease the surgical waiting list, and the Children's Hospital Trust has committed to making this vision a reality in its role as fundraiser for the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital and paediatric healthcare in the Western Cape. At present, the waiting lists are between five and eight months long and lengthy delays could lead to more serious medical complications and sometimes cause severe damage for the patients in waiting. The initiative is expected to complete approximately 56 surgeries during the 12 week period.
"Whilst all these conditions are not lifesaving, they are most certainly life changing for a young child. This is the second year that Mediclinic Southern Africa has generously funded this initiative, which was first rolled out as a pilot project in 2011," says Philippa Douglas, Fundraising Manager of the Children's Hospital Trust.
Discomfort of being on the waiting list
"These long waiting times not only mean that children have to live in discomfort for considerable periods of time, but can also lead to more serious medical complications. Alleviating the pressure at the hospital will result in starting 2013 without a long waiting list," says Professor Alp Numanoglu, paediatric surgeon at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.
"Mediclinic Southern Africa is proud to be associated with the Saturday Surgeries initiative at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital. We believe in sustainable healthcare within our communities and the delivery of improved healthcare in South Africa. This joint initiative with a world-class paediatric facility dedicated to providing affordable treatment for children in need forms part of tier one on our CSI platform. This tier comprises partnering with public hospitals to provide access to quality healthcare to a broader section of our society," added Dr Mvula Yoyo, Transformation Executive: Mediclinic.
In 2011, the Children's Hospital Trust expressed its intention to continue the "Saturday Surgeries" initiative. The Trust will continue to strive to impact on additional surgical specialties, such as spinal injuries and eye surgeries, and has already achieved the inclusion of Plastics for 2012 as pledged last year.
(Press release, August 2012)