Media releases

Netcare suspends paramedic over Facebook post

Paramedic suspended pending the holding of a disciplinary hearing

Friday, June 9 2017

A paramedic in Netcare 911’s employ, who posted discriminatory remarks linked to the tragic weather conditions in the Cape on his personal Facebook page on Thursday evening, has been suspended pending the holding of a disciplinary hearing which will be scheduled for next week.

The managing director of Netcare 911, Craig Grindell, says, “We completely distance ourselves from the paramedic’s unacceptable comments. Netcare and Netcare 911 have a firm, zero tolerance stance towards discrimination of any kind. We will not hesitate to take the strongest possible action when made aware of any action and or behaviour of a staff member which transgresses the company’s values, ethics and code of conduct.”

“Our thoughts are with the communities of Knysna, Plettenburg Bay and further along the Garden Route in their time of crisis and we extend our deepest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones in the devastating fires,” Grindell concluded.

Ends

Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact    :    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za or pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

 

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Netcare and Netcare 911 respond to allegations of a racist post by an employee of Netcare 911

Investigation points to probable hacking of staff member’s Facebook page and creation of fraudulent post to publicly discredit him

Tuesday, May 16 2017

Netcare confirms that both Netcare and Netcare 911 have been made aware that an employee of Netcare 911 is alleged to have posted racist content on his personal Facebook account.

Commenting on the alleged post, Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of the Netcare Group says, “We have a zero tolerance stance towards discrimination of any kind and we will not hesitate to take the strongest possible action when made aware of actions and or behaviour of any staff member who transgresses the company’s values, strict ethics and code of conduct, especially in cases involving racial discrimination.”

“We are indeed proud of our commitment to and the external recognition of our efforts towards transformation in Netcare. In 2016, we formally introduced a specific 7th “Netcare behaviour” which states that ‘We embrace diversity to show that we are not racist’,” he added.

Dr Friedland says the company’s stance is evidenced by the fact that earlier this year, after becoming aware of a racist post placed on Facebook by a staff member she was, after an investigation found her to be guilty, summarily dismissed.

According to Craig Grindell, managing director of Netcare 911, the facts pertaining to the alleged Facebook publication by an employee of Netcare 911, are as follows:
The Facebook post in question was originally brought to Netcare 911 management’s attention on 15 April 2017 by the individual himself, who was made aware thereof by a person outside of Netcare 911 after it was circulated on Facebook platforms.
The Facebook post contains absolutely deplorable and inexcusable racist comments and it does give the impression that it had been posted by the individual on his personal Facebook page.

“We immediately launched an internal investigation at the time of the original incident, and notwithstanding the fact that he had brought the matter to our attention, the individual was placed on special leave whilst the company conducted its investigation,” says Grindell.

“Despite our efforts to communicate directly with Facebook, the Facebook profile that originally posted the racist content could not be validated by Facebook. However this profile was subsequently removed by Facebook.”

“Our investigation, however, indicated that it was likely that the individual’s Facebook account had been hacked into in order to post the absolutely inexcusable comments with the intention of causing him reputational damage,” explains Grindell. 

He added: “Based on the inability to validate the source of the post, a thorough analysis by a third party of the individual’s personal Facebook activity on his electronic equipment over the period concerned, and an affidavit submitted by the individual stating that he had no knowledge of who had potentially posted the post, the case was closed.”

Yesterday, Monday, 15 May, it was brought to Netcare 911 management’s attention that there had been a repeat posting of the original Facebook post on various social media platforms, including WhatsApp and Facebook.

“Based on additional information that has since become available to us, we have reason to believe that the post may have been deliberately and fraudulently created by specific individuals or companies who may have been exposed as having engaged in business practices which may not be viewed as ethical. This exposure relates to actions which occurred during the Netcare 911 employee’s employment with his previous employer and with Netcare 911,” says Grindell.

“We will further our internal investigations in this regard and, given the absolutely offensive nature of the Facebook post, will be engaging the services of external IT investigators in an attempt to identify the source of the posts,” Dr Friedland added.

He reiterated: “As a company we are absolutely committed to dealing with any form of racial discrimination, and trust that the information above clarifies the situation around the Facebook post and our company’s decisive stance and on-going resolute management in instances of discrimination.”

Ends

Issued by:              Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare and Netcare 911
Contact                  :                 Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:          (011) 469 3016
Email:                      martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za or pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

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Unaudited interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2017

Aging population, growing burden of disease and medical innovation expected to continue driving demand for private healthcare over medium to longer term

Monday, May 15 2017

Highlights  

  • SA revenue up 2.3% to R9 218 million
  • UK revenue up 3.2% to £458.0 million
  • Group revenue down 10.1% to R16 912 million (23.9% adverse variance in average exchange rate)
  • Adjusted headline earnings per share down 11.4% to 80.6 cents
  • Interim dividend per share of 38.0 cents

Overview

Commenting on the results, Netcare chief executive officer, Dr Richard Friedland, said that it has been a challenging interim period. “While our Group revenue in local currencies is growing, both in South Africa (“SA”) and the United Kingdom (“UK”), the appreciating Rand has negatively impacted on the translation of our UK results.”

The financial results were boosted by two key non-trading items, being a non-cash benefit relating to the mark-to-market revaluation of the UK Retail Price Index (“RPI”) swap instruments and a capital profit on the sale of the old Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital (“CBMH”) land and buildings.

Excluding both exceptional items, EBITDA was down 13.1% to R2 313 million, normalised profit after taxation declined by 15.6% and adjusted headline earnings per share (“adjusted HEPS”) reduced by 11.4% to 80.6 cents (2016: 91.0 cents). 

Group revenue fell 10.1% to R16 912 million (2016: R18 814 million). However, in constant currency terms, Group revenue grew by 2.7%, with currency conversion reducing reported revenue by R2 418 million (12.8%), as a result of a stronger Rand.

Divisional review

South Africa
Although the business was challenged by low growth in the economy, revenue in SA grew 2.3% to R9 218 million (2016: R9 011 million).

Excluding the non-trading capital profit on the sale of the old Netcare CBMH land and buildings, SA EBITDA decreased by 2.1% to R1 915 million (2016: R1 957 million) and operating profit decreased by 3.6% to R1 595 million (2016: R1 655 million).

Hospital and Emergency Services
Revenue in this division grew by R391 million (4.6%) against the comparative period. Patient days were affected by a fall in activity from private-paying and foreign patients, as well as patients injured on duty covered by the Workers’ Compensation Fund and, to a lesser extent, from more active case management by medical schemes. In line with activity, full week occupancy levels reduced to 63.2% (2016: 64.4%). An increase in the mix of higher complexity cases was experienced across its hospitals resulting in a 7.4% increase in revenue per patient day, ahead of tariff inflation.

Results were negatively impacted by a decline in Emergency Services revenues from industrial sites in Mozambique, where tough economic conditions curtailed activity in the mining and resources sectors. The position has been exacerbated by the correction in H1 2017 of a non-cash accounting error within the Emergency Services division which relates to the prior year.

The EBITDA margin contracted to 21.1% (2016: 22.6%) negatively influenced by:

  • Lower than anticipated volumes, together with higher demand for ICU from more complex cases, placed pressure on the management of direct payroll, as more specialised care is required. This also resulted in the consumption of more expensive drugs and/or surgicals, on which no margin is earned;
  • Rental charges on the new Netcare CBMH of R16 million in H1 2017, with an impact on EBITDA margin of 20 basis points; and
  • The impact from Emergency Services accounted for 80 basis points of the EBITDA margin decline, of which 50 basis points is attributable to the correction of the non-cash prior period accounting error and 30 basis points to the decline in Mozambique trading.

Commenting on the relocation of the Netcare CBMH to the Cape Town foreshore, Dr Friedland says: “We have already seen a growth in patient days of 5.8% in the period under review, despite having been open for only four months of the reporting period. The opening of the new hospital is the first phase of a development that will culminate in the establishment of a world class medical precinct and centre of excellence, the first of its kind in SA, offering a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary medical, emergency, diagnostic and rehabilitative services”.

The acquisition of Akeso Clinics, comprising 12 private mental health facilities, which was announced in November 2016, has been submitted to the Competition Commission for approval.  “Sadly, we are seeing an increase in mental illness in SA,” says Dr Friedland, “and Netcare is under-represented in this sector. This transaction is earnings neutral for us in the first year, and thereafter will be accretive, and is being funded through existing debt facilities.”

Primary Care
The national network of Medicross family medical and dental centres outsourced its retail pharmacy operations with effect from 1 December 2016.

Primary Care revenue of R389 million (2016: R573 million) reduced by 32.1%. Operating profit was negatively affected by the start-up costs of new day clinic and sub-acute facilities and related depreciation charges, while the EBITDA margin improved to 12.9% from 9.2%, reflecting the benefit of the retail pharmacy outsourcing arrangement, which replaces retail pharmacy revenue with rental income.

United Kingdom

In the UK, BMI Healthcare’s (“BMI”) network of hospitals serves the National Health Services (“NHS”), the Private Medical Insurance (“PMI”) market, and Self-pay customers.

In a tough trading environment, local currency revenue increased 3.2% to £458.0 million (2016: £444.0 million), as BMI’s inpatient and day caseload grew by 2.6%.

NHS volumes, which now comprise 43.5% of total caseload, continued to be the primary growth driver of activity, with NHS caseload growing by 8.5%. The e-Referrals caseload grew by 10.2% (2016: 8.5%) while NHS spot work remained flat reflecting financial constraints at many NHS Trusts.

There has been no change in the factors affecting the Private Medical Insurance (“PMI”) market, with caseload declining by 3.6% during the period.

Self-pay activity continued to grow, reflecting a 6.4% increase. “We attribute this lift to increasing NHS waiting lists, as well as our packaged pricing, increased range of services and targeted marketing campaigns,” notes Dr Friedland.

BMI EBITDA declined by 25.2% to £24.0 million (2016: £32.1 million) at a margin of 5.2% (2016: 7.2%), due to rental escalations and other one-off credit items in 2016 that did not recur. Operating profit decreased by 55.9% to £6.0 million (2016: £13.6 million).    

In April 2017, BMI Healthcare completed a refinancing of its existing debt facilities. The new debt package comprises a 5-year Term Loan B facility of £85 million and a Revolving Credit Facility of £50 million, with the debt beneficially held by Netcare being further extended to April 2023.

Outlook

In terms of the outlook for SA, Dr Friedland says: “We expect demand for private healthcare to remain resilient over the medium and longer term as a function of the aging population, the growing burden of disease and medical innovation.”

“However, in the near term, economic pressures and medical scheme interventions may weigh on demand for our services.  Growth is still expected from the new capacity opened in the past two years. Ongoing benefits will be delivered by our long term operational excellence and quality improvement projects, in line with our commitment to best outcomes, best experience and cost-effective care for our patients. Our IT and automation projects are focused on optimising our cost base to deliver sustainable returns going forward. ”

Planned capital expenditure in SA for the full year is expected to reach approximately R1.7 billion which includes the further development of the new Netcare CBMH medical precinct and the expansion of Netcare Milpark Hospital, as well as maintenance and upgrade of medical equipment and the property estate.

Looking at the UK market, Dr Friedland concludes: “The NHS faces ongoing constraints and this should result in further growth in NHS-funded patients being treated in private facilities as well as in the Self-pay market. The PMI market is not expected to improve markedly in the short term.”

Further improvement of patient pathways and the extraction of operating efficiencies will continue to be driven across the business.

BMI Healthcare expects to spend approximately £52.0 million in 2017 on capital projects to enhance its hospital infrastructure, expand its diagnostic capacity and keep abreast of technological developments.

Ends

Notes to journalists
Netcare (JSE: NTC) is listed on the JSE and is ranked as South Africa’s most empowered company in the healthcare sector, and 16th overall on the JSE, in the 2016 Top 100 Most Empowered JSE Listed Companies Report.

In SA, Netcare operates the largest private hospital, primary healthcare, emergency medical services and renal care networks. In addition to its world-class acute private hospital services in SA and the UK (the latter offered through BMI Healthcare), Netcare provides:

  • primary healthcare services, occupational health and employee wellness services through Medicross and Prime Cure;
  • emergency medical services through Netcare 911; and
  • renal dialysis through National Renal Care

Netcare also has the distinction of being a leading private trainer of emergency medical and nursing personnel in the country.

Netcare’s core value is care. From this value flow four others, namely dignity, participation, truth and passion. We work hard to entrench these values in every action, decision and intervention we take with our patients, their families, our colleagues and communities.

For more information visit www.netcare.co.za

Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:        (011) 469 3016
Email:                   martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za or  pieter@mnapr.co.za

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Ongeouditeerde tussentydse resultate vir die ses maande geëindig 31 Maart 2017

Ouerwordende bevolking, n groeiende siektelas en mediese innovasie sal na verwaging steeds die vraag na privaat gesondheidsorg oor die medium tot langer termyn stimuleer

Monday, May 15 2017

Hoogtepunte

  • SA inkomste styg met 2.3% tot R9 218 miljoen
  • VK-inkomste styg met 3.2% tot £458.0 miljoen
  • Groepinkomste 10.1% laer tot R16 912 miljoen (23.9% negatiewe afwyking in gemiddelde wisselkoers)
  • Aangepaste wesensverdienste per aandeel 11.4% laer na 80.6 sent
  • Tussentydse dividend per aandeel van 38.0 sent

Oorsig

In sy kommentaar oor die resultate het die hoof uitvoerende beampte van Netcare, Dr. Richard Friedland, gesê dit was ’n uitdagende handelsperiode. “Hoewel ons groepinkomste in plaaslike geldeenhede groei – beide in Suid-Afrika (SA) en die Verenigde Koninkryk (VK) – het die versterking van die Rand ’n negatiewe uitwerking op die omrekening van ons VK-resultate gehad.”

Die finansiële resultate is deur twee belangrike nie-handelsitems ondersteun, naamlik ’n nie-kontantvoordeel met betrekking tot die herwaardasie van die VK Kleinhandelsprysindeks se ruilinstrumente teenoor markwaarde, en ’n kapitaalwins met die verkoop van die ou Netcare Christiaan Barnard Gedenkhospitaal (CBGH) se perseel en geboue.

Met uitsluiting van beide buitengewone items was die verdienste voor rente, belasting, waardevermindering en amortisasie (VVRBWA) 13.1% laer teen R2 313 miljoen, het genormaliseerde wins na belasting met 15.6% afgeneem en was aangepaste wesensverdienste per aandeel (aangepaste WVPA) 11.4% minder teen 80.6 sent (2016: 91.0 sent).

Groepinkomste het met 10.1% tot R16 912 miljoen gedaal (2016: R18 814 miljoen). Teen ’n konstante wisselkoers het groepinkomste egter met 2.7% gegroei. Die wisselkoersomrekening het gerapporteerde inkomste met R2 418 miljoen (12.8%) verminder, as gevolg van ’n sterker Rand.

Oorsig van afdelings

Suid-Afrika
Hoewel die besigheid lae ekonomiese groei moes trotseer, het inkomste in SA met 2.3% tot R9 218 miljoen gestyg (2016: R9 011 miljoen).

Met uitsluiting van die nie-handelskapitaalwins met die verkoop van die ou Netcare CBGH se perseel en geboue, was SA VVRBWA 2.1% laer op R1 915 miljoen (2016: R1 957 miljoen) en bedryfswins 3.6% laer op R1 595 miljoen (2016: R1 655 miljoen).

Hospitale en Nooddienste
Inkomste in hierdie afdeling het met R391 miljoen (4.6%) toegeneem teenoor die vergelykende tydperk. Pasiëntdae is beïnvloed deur ’n afname in aktiwiteit van privaat betalende en buitelandse pasiënte, asook pasiënte wat aan diens beseer is en deur die Werkersvergoedingsfonds gedek word, en in ’n mindere mate deur meer aktiewe gevallebestuur deur mediese skemas. Volweek besettingsvlakaktiwiteite het ooreenstemmend afgeneem tot 63.2% (2016: 64.4%).

Die toename in meer komplekse gevalle as deel van die algehele gevallelading wat Netcare by  sy hospitale ervaar het, het gelei tot ’n styging van 7.4% in inkomste per pasiëntdag, wat bo tariefinflasie is.

Resultate is negatief geraak deur ’n daling in Nooddienste se inkomste uit industriële bedrywighede in Mosambiek, waar strawwe ekonomiese toestande aktiwiteit in die myn- en hulpbronsektore ingekort het. Die posisie is vererger deur ’n nie-kontantverwante rekeningkundige fout wat verband hou met die vorige jaar en reggestel is in die eerste helfte van 2017, in die Nooddienste-afdeling.

Die VVRBWA-marge het gekrimp tot 21.1% (2016: 22.6%). Die marge is negatief beïnvloed deur die volgende aspekte:

  • Laer as verwagte volumes, tesame met ’n hoër vraag na intensiewesorgdienste voortspruitend uit meer komplekse gevalle, wat druk geplaas het op die bestuur van direkte salarisse, aangesien meer gespesialiseerde sorg nodig is. Dit het ook gelei tot die verbruik van duurder medikasie en/of chirurgiese verbruiksgoedere waarop geen marge verdien word nie;
  • Huurkoste van R16 miljoen vir die nuwe Netcare CBGH in die eerste helfte van 2017, met ’n impak van 20 basispunte op die VVRBWA-marge; en
  • Die impak van Nooddienste, wat vir 80 basispunte van die daling in die VVRBWA-marge verantwoordelik was, waarvan 50 basispunte toeskryfbaar is aan die regstelling van die nie-kontantverwante rekeningkundige fout uit die vorige periode, en 30 basispunte aan die daling in die Mosambiek-besigheid.

In sy kommentaar oor die verskuiwing van die Netcare CBGH na die waterkantgebied in Kaapstad, het Dr. Friedland gesê: “Ons het reeds groei van 5.8% in pasiëntdae gedurende die verslagtydperk gesien, ondanks die feit dat ons slegs vier maande van die verslagtydperk in die nuwe gebou was. Die opening van die nuwe hospitaal is die eerste fase van ’n ontwikkeling wat sal lei tot die vestiging van ’n mediese buurt en sentrum van uitnemendheid wat die eerste in sy soort in SA is, en ’n omvattende reeks primêre, sekondêre en tersiêre mediese, nood-, diagnostiese en rehabilitasiedienste sal aanbied.”

Die koop van die Akeso Clinics, wat uit 12 privaat geestesgesondheidsinrigtings bestaan, is in November 2016 aangekondig en die transaksie is aan die Mededingingskommissie voorgelê vir goedkeuring. “Ongelukkig sien ons ’n toename in geestesiektes in SA,” sê Dr Friedland, “en Netcare is onderverteenwoordig in hierdie sektor. Hierdie transaksie sal nie in die eerste jaar vir ons verdienste lewer nie, maar daarna sal dit geleidelik toeneem, en word deur bestaande skuldfasiliteite befonds.”

Primêre Sorg

Medicross se nasionale netwerk van gesins- mediese en tandheelkundige sentrums het sy kleinhandelsapteek-bedrywighede met ingang van 1 Desember 2016 uitgekontrakteer.

Primêre Sorg se inkomste van R389 miljoen (2016: R573 miljoen) was 32.1% laer. Bedryfswins is negatief geraak deur die beginkoste van nuwe dagklinieke en sub-akute fasiliteite en verwante waardeverminderingskoste, terwyl die VVRBWA-marge van 9.2% tot 12.9% verbeter het en die voordeel weerspieël van die uitkontraktering van die kleinhandelsapteke, wat inkomste uit kleinhandelsapteke deur huurinkomste vervang.

Verenigde Koninkryk

In die VK bedien BMI Healthcare (BMI) se hospitaalnetwerk die National Health Services (NHS), privaat mediese versekering en selfbetalende kliënte.

In ’n moeilike handelsomgewing het inkomste in die plaaslike geldeenheid met 3.2% tot £458.0 miljoen gestyg (2016: £444.0 miljoen), terwyl BMI se hospitaal- en dagpasiëntgevallelading met 2.6% toegeneem het.

NHS-volumes, wat nou 43.5% van die totale gevallelading uitmaak, is steeds die vernaamste groeidryfveer van aktiwiteit. Die NHS-gevallelading het 8.5% groei getoon. E-Referrals se gevallelading het met 10.2% toegeneem (2016: 8.5%), terwyl prosedures wat die NHS by geleentheid van privaat voorsieners koop, onveranderd gebly het en die finansiële druk by baie NHS Trusts weerspieël.

Daar was geen verandering in die faktore wat die privaat mediese versekeringsmark affekteer nie. Die gevallelading het gedurende die verslagtydperk met 3.6% afgeneem.

Volgehoue groei in selfbetaling aktiwiteit het ’n toename van 6.4% getoon. “Ons skryf hierdie styging toe aan groeiende NHS-waglyste, asook ons pakketprysstruktuur, uitgebreide reeks dienste en teikenbemarkingsveldtogte,” sê Dr. Friedland.

BMI se VVRBWA was 25.2% laer teen £24.0 miljoen (2016: £32.1 miljoen) met ’n marge van 5.2% (2016: 7.2%), hoofsaaklik weens stygings in huurkoste en ander eenmalige kredietitems in 2016 wat nie weer voorgekom het nie. Bedryfswins was 55.9% laer op £6.0 miljoen (2016: £13.6 miljoen).

In April 2017 het BMI Healthcare ’n herfinansiering van sy bestaande skuldfasiliteite afgehandel. Die nuwe skuldpakket bestaan uit ’n 5-jaar termynlening B-fasiliteit van £85 miljoen en ’n wentelkredietfasiliteit van £50 miljoen, met die verdere uitstel van die skuld wat namens Netcare gehou word tot April 2023.

Vooruitsig

Wat die vooruitsig vir SA betref, sê Dr. Friedland: “Ons verwag dat die vraag na privaat gesondheidsorg veerkragtig sal bly oor die medium en langer termyn, as gevolg van die ouerwordende bevolking, die groeiende siektelas en mediese innovasie.”

“Ekonomiese druk en ingrypings deur mediese skemas kan egter die vraag na ons dienste oor die korttermyn beperk. Groei word nog steeds verwag van die nuwe kapasiteit wat die afgelope twee jaar bygevoeg is. Volgehoue voordele sal verkry word uit ons langtermyn-bedryfsuitnemendheids- en gehalteverbeteringsprojekte, in ooreenstemming met ons verbintenis tot beste uitkomste, beste ervaring en kostedoeltreffende sorg vir ons pasiënte. Ons inligtingstegnologie- en outomatiseringsprojekte is toegespits op die optimalisering van ons kostebasis om in die toekoms volhoubare opbrengste te lewer.”

Beplande kapitaalbesteding in SA vir die volle jaar sal na verwagting sowat R1.7 miljard beloop, wat die verdere ontwikkeling van die nuwe Netcare CBGH mediese buurt en die uitbreiding van Netcare Milpark Hospitaal insluit, asook instandhouding en opgradering van mediese toerusting en die eiendomsportefeulje.

Oor die mark in die VK het Dr. Friedland ten slotte gesê: “Die NHS het met voortgesette beperkings te kampe en dit behoort tot ’n verdere toename in die behandeling van NHS-befondsde pasiënte in privaat fasiliteite asook groei in die selfbetalingsegment te lei. Ons verwag nie ’n beduidende verbetering in die privaat mediese versekeringsmark oor die kort termyn nie.”

Verdere verbetering van pasiëntbehandelingsriglyne en die verkryging van bedryfsdoeltreffendheids­voordele sal steeds regdeur die besigheid nagestreef word.

BMI Healthcare verwag om in 2017 sowat £52.0 miljoen aan kapitaalprojekte te bestee om sy hospitaal-infrastruktuur te verbeter, sy diagnostiese kapasiteit uit te brei en aan die voorpunt te bly van tegnologiese ontwikkelinge.

Einde

Aantekeninge vir joernaliste
Netcare (JSE: NTC) is op die JSE genoteer en word as Suid-Afrika se mees bemagtigde maatskappy in die gesondheidsorgsektor beskou. Netcare beklee algeheel die 16de plek op die JSE in die JSE se 2016-verslag oor die top 100 mees bemagtigde JSE-genoteerde maatskappye (Top 100 Most Empowered JSE Listed Companies Report).

In Suid-Afrika bedryf Netcare die grootste netwerke van privaat hospitale, primêre gesondheidsorg, mediese nooddienste en niersorg. Benewens sy wêreldklas akute privaat hospitaaldienste in Suid-Afrika en die Verenigde Koninkryk (laasgenoemde word deur BMI Healthcare aangebied), lewer Netcare:

  • primêre gesondheidsorgdienste, beroepsgesondheid- en werknemerwelstand-dienste deur Medicross en Prime Cure;
  • mediese nooddienste deur Netcare 911; en
  • nierdialise deur National Renal Care.

Netcare het hom ook onderskei as ’n toonaangewende privaat opleier van nood mediese en verpleegpersoneel in die land.

Netcare se kernwaarde is sorg. Vier ander waardes vloei hieruit voort, naamlik waardigheid, deelname, eerlikheid en passie. Ons werk hard om hierdie waardes te verskans in elke optrede, besluit en ingryping wat ons pasiënte, hul gesinne, ons kollegas en gemeenskappe raak.
Vir meer inligting, besoek www.netcare.co.za

Uitgereik deur: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) namens Netcare
Kontak:                 Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville of Pieter Rossouw
Telefoon:            (011) 469 3016
E-pos:                   martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za of pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

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Project Save a Life empowers 1110 citizens with CPR basics

Netcare 911 and KZN hospitals team up to bring lifesaving knowledge to the public

Friday, May 12 2017

In a life-or-death situation, a basic understanding of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR as it is more commonly known, can make all the difference. Netcare hospitals and Netcare 911 in KwaZulu-Natal recently teamed up at a number of shopping malls in the province in order to share this vital lifesaving knowledge with more than a thousand members of the public.

“CPR is a resuscitation technique that performs the same action as the heartbeat and breathing to maintain the flow of oxygenated blood to the brain, thereby preventing brain damage when the heart stops beating. It has many applications, including for heart attacks and near drownings,” says Dr Anchen Laubscher, medical director of Netcare.

“When an emergency arises, every second counts and there is no time to be lost looking in a first-aid book or googling ‘How to perform CPR’. If a person is unconscious, unresponsive and not breathing for themselves, they require immediate help.”

“For this reason, Netcare hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal and Netcare 911 embarked on ‘Project Save a Life’ in order to share this information with the public in shopping centres across the province. Our teams also encouraged members of the public empowered with the basic steps of CPR to pass on what they had learned to their family and friends.”

First aid workshops in CPR were organised by Netcare hospitals and Netcare 911 at various shopping malls around KZN, according to Craig Murphy, regional director of Netcare’s coastal region.

“Our teams were most gratified to reach more than 1000 people, teaching them the basics of CPR, which is enough to potentially save a life, should the need arise,” he notes.

Over 100 members of the public attended Netcare Umhlanga Hospital’s CPR demonstration at La Lucia Mall, 230 attended Netcare Kingsway’s demonstration at Galleria Mall in Amanzimtoti, and over 200 attended the event organised by Netcare St Anne’s Hospital at Cascades Lifestyle Centre in Pietermaritzburg.

Some 250 people attended the event at The Pavilion in Westville, which was a joint event hosted by staff of Netcare St Augustine’s and Netcare Parklands hospitals, and a further 250 attended Netcare Alberlito Hospital’s event at Ballito Junction, while 70 members of the public attended the CPR demonstration organised by Netcare The Bay Hospital at the Boardwalk shopping centre in Richards Bay.

“If you found someone unconscious right now, would you know what to do? If not, it is well worthwhile familiarising yourself with this useful summary of the information imparted to participants of Project Save a Life.”

Steps to saving a life
Get someone to phone an emergency medical services provider, such as Netcare 911 on 082 911, for assistance. If you are alone with the patient, call for help by putting your phone on ‘speaker’ so that you can perform CPR while talking to the operator.

  1. Lay the unresponsive person on their back on a flat surface.
  2. Place one of your hands flat in the middle of the person’s chest, and the other hand on top of it.
  3. Press down hard, compressing the chest by about 5cm, and then release the pressure to allow the heart to refill with blood.
  4. Continue repeating the chest compressions at a rate of about two compressions per second.
  5. For every 30 chest compressions, give the person two rescue breaths. If you do not feel it is safe or hygienic to give the breaths just continue with the chest compressions until help arrives.
  6. Rescue breaths are achieved by pinching the person’s nose closed, tilting their head back and covering their mouth with yours, then exhaling into their mouth until the chest rises.
  7. Continue to perform CPR until the person revives, or professional help arrives.

“The value of early CPR to the patient’s recovery should not be underestimated. Within a few minutes of being deprived of oxygen, irreversible brain damage starts to set in followed by brain death. This illustrates the importance of learning basic CPR, as time is of the essence in a medical emergency,” Dr Laubscher concludes.

 

Ends

Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare KwaZulu-Natal hospitals and Netcare 911
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:        (011) 469 3016
Email:                   martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za, or  pieter@mnapr.co.za

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Hospital and emergency medical service staff committed to saving lives this Easter

Netcare and Netcare 911 informs the public about travel safety

Thursday, April 13 2017

As the long Easter weekend draws near, many South Africans will be traveling to visit family and friends or one of the country’s many beautiful vacation spots. The increased number of vehicles on the roads, sometimes coupled with fatigue, alcohol or a sense of carelessness, can unfortunately lead to injuries and fatalities on our roads.

“Every motorist has a role to play in making South Africa’s roads safer over this Easter period. By following reasonable safety precautions and courteous driving behaviour, it is possible to reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths and ensure that more people reach their destinations and return safely after their holidays,” says Shalen Ramduth, Netcare 911 Director: business development and support services.

Netcare 911 will be out in full force over this holiday season to assist anyone in need of emergency medical attention. With support from Netcare St Anne’s Hospital, Netcare 911 will also be actively engaging with the public, spreading the message of how to stay safe and avoid unnecessary harm while travelling.

“Through educating and informing the public on various ways they can increase their safety and that of their loved ones, we are hopeful to make a difference,” Ramduth observes. “We will be distributing educational flyers and posters with safety tips all along the N3 route near Pietermaritzburg and Durban,” he adds.

He notes that the two major contributors to road accidents are driver fatigue and drunk driving, both of which are preventable. “Drivers need to consider the importance of being mentally alert and in good physical condition when embarking on a road trip. This means that they should get enough rest before undertaking a road journey and never drive under the influence of alcohol, drugs or any medication that might impair their judgement or ability to drive safely,” cautions Ramduth.

“Drivers should also remember that even if they are well rested before departing, driving for long stretches at a time causes driver fatigue,” says Ramduth. “In order to avoid this, take turns with another qualified individual to drive, and remember to stop for a rest and to stretch your legs at least every two hours, as this will help you to stay alert and awake,” he adds.

Before setting off on holiday, drivers should ensure that their vehicle is roadworthy and equipped with a spare tyre in good repair, basic tools, reflective triangle and first aid kit.

“The importance of a first aid kit is often overlooked and sometimes the contents of the kits have expired, rendering them unusable,” says Ramduth. “It is therefore essential to check the contents of your first aid kit regularly and replace any expired or damaged contents,” he adds.

Here is a handy checklist of essential items for your first aid kit:

  • Cotton wool
  • A digital thermometer
  • Medical gloves
  • Two medical eye patches
  • Burnshield dressing
  • A variety of bandages and plasters as well as sterile gauze
  • Antiseptic wipes and liquid
  • A space blanket
  • Safety pins, scissors, tweezers: and
  • Paracetamol tablets and syrup

Netcare St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg sees many emergency and trauma patients during Easter, given its close proximity to the East Coast – a popular holiday destination, especially during the Easter holidays. Louis Joubert, general manager of Netcare St Anne’s Hospital, shares some insights on how the public can assist emergency medical personnel in the event of an emergency situation.

“Firstly, it is crucial that your medical history, including details of any medicine allergies and chronic health conditions you may have, your identity document and medical scheme membership information is easily obtainable by paramedics and other emergency staff,” says Joubert.

 

“If you are involved in an accident, it can save precious time if emergency medical personnel are able to identify you and obtain your medical history quickly, as it will help to speed up your treatment at the scene of the accident or incident and in the emergency department,” he says. “With access to your medical history, paramedics and medical staff will be able to ensure your treatment is appropriate for your individual medical background, and hence, more effective. They will also be able to notify your next of kin more quickly.”

Joubert says it is good practice to prepare and plan your route in advance and to identify any potential problems that may impact you on your journey. “Pinpoint all the hospitals and clinics on your route, so that wherever you are, you will know where the nearest medical facility is. Never stop in an isolated location and ensure that you regularly update at least two people, who are not traveling with you, on your current location,” he advises.

“Technology is making it easier to call for assistance in the case of an emergency, with a partnership between Netcare 911 and mySOS emergency mobile application,” adds Ramduth.

“In an emergency, the mySOS app sends an alert to Netcare 911’s national emergency operations centre, or other relevant emergency services, and your selected loved ones to show them your GPS location,” he explains. “The app also makes a phone call to Netcare 911, or the most appropriate service provider for the type of emergency encountered, so that assistance is mobilised in the shortest possible time.”

In addition, the app can direct you to medical facilities along your route and also includes a function that can track your location while you are travelling, for greater peace of mind for both the traveller and their loved ones. If you do not reach your destination within a time limit set by yourself, the app will alert your selected emergency contacts, providing them with your position and a map of the route you took, while continuing to track your location. This potentially lifesaving service uses minimal battery power on your phone.

The mySOS app can be downloaded for free for Android as well as iOS at https://www.mysos.co.za/download.html.

 “It is always our hope that there will not be any accidents, and we hope to pre-empt many preventable accidents by promoting road safety awareness. Nonetheless, Netcare 911’s dedicated emergency care practitioners will be on full alert and ready to assist in case of any medical emergency that may arise,” Ramduth concludes.

Ends

Issued by:       Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare St Anne’s Hospital and Netcare 911
Contact:          Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:     (011) 469 3016
Email:              martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za or pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

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Travellers and hikers urged to be cautious of tick borne diseases

Ticks are most prevalent in South Africa during the warmer months of the year

Tuesday, February 7 2017

Ticks are most prevalent in South Africa during the warmer months of the year, and Netcare Travel Clinics urges travellers, international visitors, hikers, campers and farmers to be vigilant of potentially debilitating and serious tick-borne diseases at this time of the year.

Dr Pete Vincent of the Netcare Travel Clinics and Medicross Family Medical and Dental Centres, Tokai, warns that tick-borne diseases, such as spotted fever rickettsiosis, commonly known as tick bite fever, and the more dangerous Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF), occur more commonly on the southern African sub-continent between November and April every year.

“Taking precautions, including checking yourself for, and removing, ticks daily after having been potentially exposed to them, greatly decreases the chances of becoming infected with such tick borne diseases,” he adds.

“While the occurrence of CCHF in South Africa is rare, the same can unfortunately not be said of common African tick bite fever,” states Dr Vincent. “African tick bite fever can occur around the country and sub-continent, but in SA it is endemic in areas such as the Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and the Kruger National Park. It is, in addition, found on the East Coast of South Africa throughout the year, and is one of the most commonly reported infections among international visitors.”
 
“The National Institute of Communicable Diseases [NICD] has reported that a number of Johannesburg residents have presented with mild febrile illness with rash in recent weeks, which may be as a result of tick bite fever, although the cause of these infections is currently being investigated.”

According to Dr Vincent, the severity of tick bite fever can vary widely, and if it is not treated promptly with antibiotics can be a most unpleasant illness, causing high fevers, muscle pain and severe headaches, and can lay a sufferer low for two weeks or more.

“It is essential to see your doctor if you have been bitten by a tick and start developing symptoms such as fever, headache and rash. Early treatment with a tetracycline antibiotic should resolve the illness early and prevent further possible complications.

“In January, the NICD has confirmed two cases of CCHF, which is usually tick-borne and can be life-threatening, in farmers from the Western and Northern Cape,” adds Dr Vincent. “The risk of travellers getting the CCHF infection is extremely low, however. CCHF is generally seen in people who come into regular contact with livestock in endemic areas such as the Free State and Northern Cape.”

“People who walk through long grass or come in close contact with cattle should be particularly vigilant of ticks that may be carrying infection, and take steps to avoid being bitten by them. It should be noted that ticks on dogs and other mammals in urban and peri-urban areas may also potentially carry tick bite fever.

“With tick bite fever there is usually an eight-day incubation period. The bite site will develop black scabs, known as eschars, which can result in open wounds and swelling of lymph glands close to the bite site. At day eight, one usually gets onset fever, muscle pain and a headache. Three days later patients can present a macular or skin rash that appears as small, flat red spots,” says Dr Vincent.

“The onset of CCHF, on the other hand, is sudden. Patients may have a range of flu-like symptoms including headaches, high fever, muscle pain, lower back pain, cold shivers and hot sweats. As the illness progresses, severe bruising and nosebleeds could occur. ”

Dr Vincent recommends the following precautionary measures to protect against tick-borne diseases:

  • Check whether the area and place you are visiting has a high prevalence of tick bite diseases.
  • Wear long trousers that can be tucked into long socks and boots or closed shoes.
  • A DEET based mosquito repellent can be used on your lower legs.
  •  For added protection spray fabric insecticides, such as Permethrin, onto your clothing and leggings.
  •  Inspect your clothes and body for ticks immediately after potential exposure particularly along the legs, groin and hair line. This should be done at the end of each day while in a potential exposed area.
  • Extract any ticks as soon as possible using tweezers. The tweezers should be placed as close as possible to the skin, over the tick’s mouthparts. The tick should be pulled slowly, straight up and out, with care taken not to squeeze its stomach contents into the bite site.

“Should you be bitten by a tick, the affected area can be washed with soap and water, and an antihistamine ointment or mild cortisone cream applied. You can also take an oral antihistamine. Ticks should be removed before the affected area is cleaned. It is not advisable to try to burn the tick or use kerosene, turpentine or petroleum jelly to remove it,” concludes Dr Vincent.


Ends

Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Travel Clinics
Contact    :    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za and
pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

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Travellers urged to be cautious following bird flu outbreaks

Some 40 countries have reported outbreaks of avian flu, commonly known as bird flu.

Tuesday, January 31 2017

Some 40 countries have reported outbreaks of avian flu, commonly known as bird flu, in wild birds and domestic poultry since November 2016. Since September 2016, a total of 120 people have been infected with a certain strain of this infectious illness in China. As many as a third of these individuals died as a result of the infection.

According to Dr Pete Vincent of Netcare Travel Clinics and Tokai Medicross, these avian flu figures were recently reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centre for Diseases Control (CDC) in the United States. “South Africans, particularly those who are travelling, should be vigilant and avoid contact with birds, bird droppings, poultry farms and markets, as well as eating undercooked poultry and soft eggs,” advises Dr Vincent.

“Certain strains of bird flu, such as the influenza A H7N9 that is being reported from China, are highly contagious and could pose a serious threat to one’s health. Netcare Travel Clinics would advise travellers to China to be on the alert, although there is no cause for undue alarm,” he adds. “The CDC has issued a travel alert for China recommending that visitors avoid all contact with birds as far as possible when travelling to the country. However, the CDC has not recommended against travel to China.”

“Local clinicians who see patients who present with respiratory illness within 10 days of returning from China, should have them screened for H7N9 avian flu,” notes Dr Vincent.

Meanwhile the WHO has also recently reported outbreaks in wild birds and domestic poultry of the influenza A H5N8 bird flu strain in some 24 countries on the European continent as well various countries in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. WHO says that this strain carries a relatively low risk for transmission from birds to humans, but points out that there is nevertheless still a risk of cross infection.

Dr Vincent added that bird flu is occasionally reported in bird populations in South Africa but it has not been known to have been transmitted to humans here. “A H7N2 strain was reported in an ostrich flock on a farm in the Western Cape in October last year. This outbreak was quickly and effectively isolated by authorities.”

The local National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reports in its January 2017 Communicable Diseases Communiqué that the most common type of influenza currently found in the northern hemisphere is Influenza A (H3N2). This is not related to avian flu and a vaccine is available for travellers.

“The 2016 southern hemisphere influenza vaccine is identical to the 2016/7 northern hemisphere vaccine, therefore South African travellers to the northern hemisphere may use a locally acquired vaccine prior to travel,” says the NCID.

The CDC* says that travellers should take the following measures to protect themselves when visiting China:

  • Avoid touching birds no matter whether they are alive or dead.
  • Avoid live bird or poultry markets, and particularly places where birds are being slaughtered.
  • Avoid places that might be contaminated with bird faeces.
  • Only eat food that is fully cooked.
  • Avoid eating dishes or drinks that include blood from any animal.
  • As a general precaution, do not eat food from street vendors.
  • Practice good hand hygiene and cleanliness.
  • If you feel sick after visiting China, talk to your doctor particularly if you have a fever, cough, or shortness of breath.

*https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/watch/avian-flu-h7n9.


Ends


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Travel Clinics
Contact    :    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za and
pieter@mnapr.co.za

 

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First comprehensive symposium in Africa on prostate artery embolisation

Symposium aims to familiarise doctors in new procedure for men with severely enlarged prostates

Friday, January 27 2017

Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg is to host the first comprehensive symposium in Africa on prostate artery embolisation, a recently introduced treatment option for treating men who suffer from symptoms related to enlarged prostate, on 16 and 17 March 2017.

According to Dr Stephen Cornish, a urologist who founded the prostate artery embolisation (PAE) unit at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital, says that the PAE procedure has achieved excellent outcomes in patients with severely enlarged prostates, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), both internationally and now also locally.

“The symposium aims to improve knowledge about, and to keep doctors abreast of, the latest management options for benign prostatic hyperplasia, which in severe cases may cause a number of debilitating symptoms.

“The event will include an in-depth review of local and international experience with PAE, and explore patient selection, pre-operative work-up, procedural aspects as well as complication profiles. The role of the urologist in selecting the most appropriate treatment modality for the patient will also be discussed,” adds Dr Cornish.

In addition, there will be case based discussions, as well as two live cases performed by interventional radiologist, Dr Andrew Lawson, under the proctorship of Dr Nigel Hacking from the United Kingdom. Dr Hacking is an international proctor for PAE and currently one of the world’s leading interventional radiologists performing this procedure.

Dr Lawson, who together with Dr Cornish and radiologist, Dr Farrell Spiro, established the PAE unit at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in 2016, says that the symposium aims to facilitate the introduction of PAE to South Africa, and familiarise urologists and interventional radiologists from around the country with the concept of PAE, which is relatively new to South Africa and not yet widely employed as a treatment option for BPH.

“Urologists, interventional radiologists and other medical professionals with an interest in BPH and PAE would benefit from the symposium, which is worth 13 CPD points, including nine clinical and four ethical,” he adds.

The PAE unit at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital is the first of its kind to be established in Africa, and received full international accreditation late in 2016. Dr Farrell Spiro and Dr Andrew Lawson are the principal interventional radiologists involved in offering the PAE service at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital.

“The PAE unit at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital has reached a new level of maturity and we are now in a position to explore outcomes and patient experiences,” says Dr Lawson. “We organised two highly successful two-day live PAE workshops during 2016 leading up to our accreditation. The PAE symposium to be held this March will build on this,” he adds.

“We are delighted with the early results that have already been achieved in our new unit. While we have yet to observe long-term outcomes, all of the procedures that we have done so far have been successful and have resulted in a meaningful reduction in patient symptoms and improved quality of life.”

According to Dr Lawson, an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is the most common non-cancerous prostate medical condition to develop in men by the time they reach their 60s.

“Thousands of older South African men who suffer from prostate enlargement live with a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including trouble urinating, dribbling, and/or a frequent need to urinate, particularly at night.

“Both locally and internationally, PAE is proving a valuable new treatment option for this condition and we are pleased that we are able to offer this educational symposium to improve awareness of BPH and the range of treatment options that are now available locally,” concludes Dr Lawson.

For further information on the symposium or to register please contact Esme Jooste on email esme.jooste@netcare.co.za, or go to www.prostatecare.co.za. Registrations must be received by no later than 28 February 2017.

Ends

Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, or Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, or meggan@mnapr.co.za

 

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Specialist team separate conjoined twins at Centurion hospital

Paediatric surgeons optimistic for twins’ future

Monday, January 23 2017

A pair of conjoined twins from Big Bend in Swaziland today underwent a successful six-hour separation operation at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centurion, Gauteng. 

The twin girls, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane, who together weighed 4.21 kilograms at birth, were born joined at the abdomen on 2 January to 19-year-old Bongekile Simelane and her husband Mbongeni Sihlongonyane.

Pic: Conjoined twins, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane born joined at the abdomen on 2 January this year, with their mother 19-year-old Bongekile Simelane, minutes before they underwent their separation surgery at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centurion.

Speaking ahead of the procedure, paediatric surgeons Dr Mariza de Villiers and Dr Paul Stevens agreed that the twins had a good prognosis. “This type of conjoined twins are known as omphalopagus twins, which means they were joined at the lower abdomen and do not share a heart,” they noted.

“Pre-operative assessments indicated that the babies also did not share any other vital organs. This considerably improved their chances of surviving the surgical separation and will also contribute greatly to them leading healthy lives going forward,” said Dr De Villiers.

The Shilongonyane girls are the second set of conjoined twins that Drs De Villiers and Dr Stevens have separated, and are the first to have their separation surgery done at Netcare Unitas Hospital. The paediatric surgeons were assisted by Dr Francisca Van Der Schyff and Dr Kagiso Batka.


Proud parents Bongekile Simelane and Mbongeni Sihlongonyane photographed with paediatric surgeons Dr Mariza de Villiers and Dr Paul Stevens who led the surgical team at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centurion this morning.

The two gorgeous little girls, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane, being prepared for separation surgery today at Netcare Unitas Hospital in Centurion.

 

Dr De Villiers said that the twins were joined only by a bridge of skin, which made the operation simpler than if they shared vital organs. “There are always considerable risks when separating conjoined twins, but we have been cautiously optimistic all along that the operation would have a good outcome for both twins,” she observed.

“The fact that there was a skin bridge between them, meant that there was sufficient skin to close the resultant surgical wound on each baby without the need for plastic surgery.”

According to Dr Stevens one of the main challenges the surgical team anticipated ahead of the procedure, related to the anaesthesia. “The twins were conjoined in such as way that they are facing each other. Intubation for such tiny babies is delicate enough, but as their faces are so close to one another and they are not able to be placed on their backs to be intubated for anaesthesia, this was a great deal more complicated than usual.”

As a result, four anaesthetists participated in the procedure, with each twin being cared for by two anaesthetists for the duration of the surgery. The doctors worked in two distinct teams, identified by their pink and purple surgical scrub caps. The all-female team of anaesthetists consisted of Dr Henrika Rossouw, Dr Sandra Spijkerman, Dr Marleen Odendaal and Dr Jeanri Smith. The little patients were matched to their team by wearing corresponding colours and were connected to their own, colour-coded anaesthetic machine.

The initial stage of the procedure, which was dedicated to getting the anaesthetic just right for the surgery, took more than three hours, which meant that it took almost half of the total theatre time. The twins were officially separated at noon today and the rest of the surgery was completed just before 14h00 this afternoon. ”


The all-female team of anaesthetists: Dr Henrika Rossouw, Dr Sandra Spijkerman, Dr Marleen Odendaal and Dr Jeanri Smith, who were tasked with one of the greatest challenges faced by the surgical team who separated conjoined twins, Uwenzile and Uyihlelile Shilongonyane. The twins were conjoined in such as way that they were facing each other, making the delicate task of intubating the little babies a great deal more complicated than usual.

A study in soulful concentration as Dr Henrika Rossouw prepares baby, Uyihlelile Shilongonyane for anaesthesia.

 

Uwenzile and Uyihlelile were born by caesarean section. Bongkile and Mbongeni are also parents to twin boys aged two. According to Bongkile until the seventh month of her pregnancy she had no idea that she was about to give birth to a second set of twins. “At first I was not happy to hear that I was expecting twins for the second time,” she recalls. “However, once they were born everything changed. After their birth I was at first not worried as I thought the babies were only attached at the umbilical cord.”

“I love my babies so much,” said a tearful and nervous Bongkile as the babies were taken into theatre.

The young couple drew considerable strength from Portia Mabuela, an enrolled nurse at Netcare Unitas Hospital, who has become very close to the family. Even though she was off duty, Portia came in specially to be with the family during this challenging time. “Bongkile was concerned about the well-being of their babies, especially as she could not be with them in theatre and was unable to feed them as per their normal feeding schedule,” said Mabuela.

“We are all so impressed with the ease with which this young mother has been handling her conjoined babies, considering the difficulty in doing something as basic as picking them up,” commented general manager of Netcare Unitas Hospital, Robert Jordaan.

“The operation involved a team of eight doctors and a theatre team of 11 nursing professionals. Most of the team members were women,” he added.

“This is a proud moment for Netcare Unitas Hospital and especially for our team of expert doctors and nurses who participated in this operation. What happened here today represents a milestone in the medical history of our facility.”

 

Ends

Ends
Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Unitas Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za, or pieter@mnapr.co.za

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