The Hospital group further enhances the readiness of ICU and High Care facilities!
Johannesburg, South Africa (30 March 2020) – Netcare has spent R150 million to enhance the readiness of its ICU/High Care facilities, including purchasing additional ventilators, ultraviolet disinfection robots and specialised air filters to ensure appropriate disinfection measures and to supplement their stocks of personal protective equipment for their staff and healthcare colleagues to ensure their safety while they work on the front line in combatting this pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has to date infected over 743 000 people globally, resulting in more than 35 000 deaths. With more than two billion people around the world in some form of lockdown or self-isolation, these are unprecedented times, notes Dr Friedland, chief executive officer of the Netcare Group.
He cautioned that the situation in South Africa remains extremely concerning.
“This is attributable to the extremely high levels of population density in certain geographical areas which is further exacerbated by a significant proportion of the population being immune-compromised.
“As the country enters the winter season, in which approximately 19% of South Africans contract Influenza or the Flu virus, the situation may well worsen,” adds Friedland.
Based on Netcare’s actuarial forecast models, the already constrained health system will struggle to cope with the looming and significantly higher increase in the number of patients requiring hospitalisation and ICU care.
According to Friedland, Netcare is fully supportive of the 21-day nationwide lockdown in order to ‘flatten the curve’ and lower the communal spread of COVID-19. He, however, notes that Netcare’s actuarial modelling suggests that depending on how effectively the lockdown is implemented, the time frame will need on-going evaluation.
The Hospital group further enhances the readiness of ICU and High Care facilities:
- South Africa now, more than ever, depends on all healthcare workers and doctors, and Netcare will ensure that its dedicated teams remain protected throughout the pandemic.
- R150 million spent to enhance the COVID-19 readiness of Netcare’s ICU/High Care facilities.
- Netcare has committed to Government to treat public patients in Netcare facilities on a not-for-profit, cost-recovery basis. Given our limited capacity, any referrals from the public sector will be assessed and pre-authorised by Netcare on a case-by-case basis.
COVID-19 lessons learnt in China, Italy and France
“To fully prepare for COVID-19, Netcare is engaging on a regular, ongoing basis with healthcare colleagues across the globe, particularly in China, Italy and France to ensure that the painful but valuable lessons learned elsewhere are fully implemented in South Africa.
“At Netcare, we have adopted an ‘abundance of caution’ approach to ensure that healthcare workers and doctors remain protected throughout the pandemic as South Africa depends on them,” asserts Dr Friedland.
“We have consequently introduced appropriate measures, including relevant training of employees, as well as the screening of patients before they enter our facilities and isolating potentially positive patients to contain the spread of COVID-19 across our entire network of facilities.”
Friedland adds that with the exception of Netcare’s digital rollout of CareOn at Netcare Milpark Hospital, all other strategic projects have been suspended. In addition, given the lockdown, all routine activities, other than essential activities relating to COVID-19, have also been stopped.
Netcare stands ready to assist the Government and other stakeholders
“Netcare is committed to working with the Government and all other stakeholders to assist in containing and treating the pandemic.
“The Group’s hospitals have suspended non-essential elective surgery, and have proposed to the national and provincial Departments of Health that it will treat public patients in Netcare facilities. Given the exceptional circumstances and to ensure sustainability, Netcare will provide these services to COVID-19 related patients on a not-for-profit basis, seeking only to recover costs. Given our limited capacity, any referrals from the public sector will need to be assessed and pre-authorised by Netcare on a case-by-case basis,” notes Friedland.
Friedland concluded by stating that “At this critical time in South Africa’s history, Netcare stands ready to serve the nation by providing outstanding care to citizens requiring treatment, while always ensuring the safety of our healthcare workers, nurses and doctors”.