Mediclinic again pledges commitment to the public health sector

Posted on 2 Mar 2018

All sides played their part in the latest chapter of the ongoing public-private partnership between Mediclinic and the Department of Health. Private urologists and other specialists offered their pro-bono services to perform life-saving prostatectomy surgeries on 10 patients from Tygerberg Hospital, using the innovative da Vinci robotic surgical system at Mediclinic Durbanville.

“We are once again taking hands with our partners in the private sector in seeking a better health future for all the people of the Western Cape, and South Africa,” said Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape MEC for Health.

“We acknowledge the severe shortage of doctors and nurses in our country and we understand how this can hamper the public sector’s ability to deliver care. By working together in Public-Private Initiatives we have the opportunity to reach beyond our traditional patient base and assist patients in the public sector,” affirmed Koert Pretorius, Mediclinic Southern Africa CEO.

“We are very proud of the relationship we have developed over many years with the Western Cape Department of Health,” he elaborated, “and believe there should be a lot more co-operation between the public and private sectors, as it would optimise scarce skills.”

Developing a low-cost model of quality care

Dr Mbombo spoke highly of their private partners, saying Mediclinic was among the first to offer assistance and relief after the recent Eden wildfires, and pointing to Mediclinic’s proactive measures in addressing concerns around Day Zero.“The mere fact that we’re already working seamlessly with the private sector for disaster relief shows how effective this model can be.”

“We are confident this model can be developed further into offering low-cost services to the public sector in future,” Pretorius agreed. “We are very fortunate because, in additional to spare capacity at our hospitals, our private practice doctors are often very keen to support these initiatives. We also receive generous contributions from manufacturers and suppliers of pharmaceuticals, equipment and consumables.”

As Dr Mbombo added, by rolling out these initiatives in the Western Cape, it offers the rest of the country the opportunity to learn from pilot projects and then roll out the initiatives on a national scale.

Mediclinic Southern Africa has already collaborated with the Free State and Limpopo Departments of Health in offering 50 free surgeries to public sector patients. This is over and above the 50 free surgeries successfully completed at various Mediclinic hospitals in the Western Cape in recent months.

Bringing cutting-edge robotic surgery to the collaboration

During the next few weeks, Mediclinic Durbanville, together with urologist Dr Gawie Bruwer, will be providing cutting-edge prostate surgery to ten patients currently on Tygerberg Hospital’s urology waiting list. These patients are under the supervision of public-sector urologist Dr Hilgard Ackerman.

The current partnership is unique because this is the first time the renowned da Vinci robot is being utilised for CSI surgeries. Introduced to Mediclinic Durbanville several years ago, this robotic surgery has already provided some remarkable benefits to patient recovery.

“Mediclinic Durbanville is eager to translate this partnership into improved health outcomes for members of our community,” said Christine Taylor, Hospital General Manager of Mediclinic Durbanville. “By providing access to the da Vinci machine, we are not only relieving the waiting list but also using technology to benefit the patients’ recovery process.” As an example of these improved outcomes, the first patient operated on during Tuesday’s surgery was discharged on Wednesday without any complications. This in comparison to an average length of stay of five days following open surgery for prostate cancer.

Mediclinic’s participation is based on shared capacity and expertise between the private and public healthcare sectors and is aimed at lightening the burden of long public surgery waiting lists.

Published in CSI