Mediclinic is prepared for Day Zero

Posted on 26 February 2018

All our facilities in the Western Cape have failsafe water contingency measures in place for Day Zero.

Coupled with long-standing sustainability measures that have established Mediclinic Southern Africa as a leader in corporate environmental management, we are well-equipped to keep prioritising our patients’ care.

Hospitals rely on water to control infections, deliver quality patient care and run medical equipment. In any healthcare environment, while measures can be taken to conserve water and reduce waste, there is no substitute for clean fresh water.

Water-supply security is a priority at Mediclinic Southern Africa. The majority of our hospitals in the Western Cape will soon be in a position to use their own boreholes, feeding into the water supply, with secure plans in place to support the remaining three hospitals with borehole water should it become necessary. As drinking (or potable) water is a vital requirement within our facilities, Mediclinic is currently installing three strategically-placed reverse osmosis (RO) plants.

All of this is in order to deliver on our promise of quality patient care.

Balancing patient needs with water conservation

It is not, however, sufficient to have contingency plans in place for times of crisis.

Long before Day Zero was raised as a possibility, Mediclinic was proactive in implementing water conservation and management in order prepare for a water-scarce future, something which is increasingly becoming a global reality.

“Mediclinic is committed to ensuring responsible water practices in our hospitals to the benefit of all,” says Kobus Jonck, General Manager: Infrastructure for Mediclinic SA. “As such we continue to balance the needs of our patients and the ethical considerations with the current resource reality.”

“Responsible water usage is a standard practice within all our facilities. In fact we have been globally recognised as a leader in water security and conservation. In 2017, Mediclinic was awarded the global ‘A’ rating from CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) for water disclosure and sustainable management program. This coveted award was only bestowed to 74 Global companies of which seven were South African companies and Mediclinic is the only hospital group worldwide, to achieve this accolade,” explains Jonck.

“Mediclinic applies international best practice and standards in managing water and other environmental considerations,” Jonck continues.

Internal measures to serve a broader community

“The interests of our patients remain at the core of our water management strategies as well as all our business decisions,” emphasises Dr Stefan Smuts Chief Clinical Officer for Mediclinic Southern Africa. “Our water conservation plans include a strong educational component to address hygiene concerns and prevent disease outbreaks or transmission due to hygiene challenges in a water-scarce environment.”

Back in 2016, we reduced our water consumption by 30%. Further measures executed across the supply chain ensure that water conservation is always top of mind at Mediclinic.

These include:

• Installation of hospital-specific water metres
• Installation of bulk water tanks to increase storage capacity
• Assessment against environmentally-friendly practices before equipment purchases
• Procurement of water-saving autoclaves (for equipment sterilisation) and washing machines
• Recycling of grey water
• Allocation of a dedicated team of engineers for ongoing water testing measures
• Focus on awareness campaigns to change human behaviour and leadership to support water management in hospitals

In addition, hospitals are encouraging staff members to use an alcohol rub where it is a safe substitute for soap and water, as well as encouraging all our patients to take short showers rather than baths. On a hospital-management level, washing windows and vehicles is prohibited, as is watering hospital gardens.

“Mediclinic is in the fortunate position that our long-term planning was well advanced at a time when many organisations needed to commence planning for a potential Day Zero scenario. We can confidently say that in the eventuality Day Zero becomes a reality, Mediclinic’s hospitals in the Western Cape will continue to provide uncompromised quality care to patients in a well-functioning and efficient clinical environment,” concludes Jonck.

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