Private hospital group Netcare today (Thursday) revealed its new state-of-the-art hospital facility on Cape Town’s Foreshore to replace the converted downtown commercial block which has housed the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital until now.
The R800-million new hospital which will eventually incorporate an adjacent existing building, has its official opening on December 3, the 49th anniversary of the world’s first heart transplant, performed by Professor Chris Barnard, and starts full operations two days later with 248 beds including 61 in specialist units and up to 5000 unused space for future expansion.
Netcare regards the new hospital as a flagship facility, with chief executive Dr Richard Friedland saying it is “the finest hospital we’ve constructed in South Africa or the United Kingdom”, the two countries of operation for Netcare’s 113 hospitals incorporating 13000 beds.
Unlike the existing building, which shows signs it was intended for another commercial objective, the Foreshore property, with stunning views of both Table Mountain and the harbour, was built for purpose.
Many of the floors of the 16-storey building have been kitted out in high tech medical equipment. Other floors await the arrival of equipment from the existing hospital which will be transported across town over the next week.
Hospital manager Chris Tilney says emergency facilities in the old and new hospitals will operate in tandem during the weekend of the main move, although no routine procedures will be scheduled for the old facility from Friday, December 2..
“We really will only know what we’re facing a few days before we move – it really is dependent on the long-stay patients we have and who will have to be moved,” he said, adding that additional ambulances would be brought in to move patients “ward-by-ward” from December 5. “It’s an enormous logistical operation.” — RAY HARTLE