Media releases

Netcare uMhlanga Hospital trauma centre first private hospital in KZN to be Level 2 accredited

“We’re fully prepared for any holiday season medical emergencies”

Wednesday, December 13 2017

The emergency department at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital on the north coast of KwaZulu-Natal has been accredited as a Level 2 trauma centre by the Trauma Society of South Africa (TSSA), becoming the first private facility in the province to be recognised in this way.

“This accreditation provides residents of, and visitors to, the region the assurance that they can access the highest levels of emergency medical care over the holiday season and beyond,” says Mande Toubkin, Netcare’s general manager: emergency, trauma, transplant and CSI.

“The Level 2 accreditation certifies that Netcare uMhlanga Hospital’s emergency department has the necessary levels of expertise and equipment to treat all kinds and levels of emergency cases including high priority and potentially life-threatening P1 emergencies, polytrauma cases, as well as medical emergencies involving children,” emphasises Toubkin.

“The TSSA accreditation processes are most rigorous, requiring an emergency department to be well equipped and staffed by qualified emergency doctors and nursing personnel,” she adds.

According to Toubkin, the TSSA has over the last number of years been conducting a nationwide process of accrediting trauma centres within both the private and public healthcare sectors in South Africa in order to facilitate patients being directed to the most appropriate and effective levels of emergency care available.  

“The Netcare uMhlanga Hospital emergency department is only the third private facility in the province to be accredited by the TSSA. Recently Netcare Kingsway Hospital in Amanzimtoti on the South Coast and Netcare Alberlito Hospital in Ballito on the North Coast have achieved Level 3 accreditation.  

“With emergency departments at three Netcare coastal centres already accredited by the TSSA and a number of other Netcare facilities in the province preparing for accreditation, our emergency departments are well placed and ready for the holiday season. This is the busiest time of the year for our emergency units in the province, largely due to the influx of visitors to particularly its coastal regions, at this time of the year.”

The unit manager of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital’s emergency department, Heidi Chetty, who has some 20 years of experience in the field of emergency medicine including a two-year stint at a leading facility in Saudi Arabia, says that the management and staff of the hospital are very excited to have been awarded the TSSA accreditation.

“The doctors and staff in our emergency department have an immense passion for their work.  We have worked hard to ensure that our emergency department meets the strict TSSA requirements and are committed to providing the best possible care to their patients and the communities we serve,” adds Chetty.

Toubkin explains that the TSSA is working towards the achievement of a trauma system in South Africa in which all hospital emergency departments are accredited as either Level 1, 2 or 3 trauma centres.

“Among the rationales for this grading system is that it encourages the best use of available resources and expertise. In addition, it assists in guiding paramedics and other emergency workers as to which the most appropriate hospital would be to treat their patient’s particular injuries.

“Such a verification system of emergency facilities has been shown internationally to encourage best practice, patient advocacy, patient safety and improved outcomes,” she says.

There are only two accredited Level 1 facilities within the private sector in South Africa, namely at Netcare Milpark Hospital and at Netcare Union Hospital, both of which are situated in Gauteng.

Netcare uMhlanga Hospital general manager, Marc van Heerden, said that the management and staff at the hospital are “immensely honoured” that its emergency department had been accredited by TSSA as a Level 2 trauma centre.

“We will, as always, be working closely with emergency services providers such as Netcare 911 to assist holidaymakers and members of the community over the holiday period,” he adds.

“We wish all of our residents and visitors a safe and blessed festive season. Whilst we encourage them to have fun and a wonderful holiday, we also urge them to be health and safety conscious at all times,” concludes Van Heerden.


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw     
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:,, or




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Netcare enters development partnership with Disabled People South Africa

Initiative aims to stimulate and support entrepreneurial growth within the disability sector

Wednesday, December 13 2017

Private healthcare group Netcare has entered into a ground breaking enterprise and supplier development partnership with Disabled People South Africa (DPSA), an organisation that aims to stimulate and support entrepreneurial growth within the disability sector.

The partnership was announced by Netcare’s group human resources director, Peter Warrener, who says that the group has given a R2.5 million grant to DPSA to assist the organisation in achieving these objectives.

Photo: Netcare has entered into a ground breaking partnership with Disabled People South Africa (DPSA to stimulate and support entrepreneurial growth within the disability sector. Pictured at the handing over of the R2.5 million grant were, from left to right: Netcare’s group human resources director, Peter Warrener; the head of Rhen’s Consulting, Rene Hendricks; DPSA’s national treasurer, Sememeru Masemola; and Netcare’s general manager for enterprise and supplier development, Dr Nceba Ndzwayiba.

“We at Netcare are tremendously excited to enter into this enterprise and supplier development partnership with DPSA, which builds on our commitment to disability mainstreaming and seeks to place persons with a disability at the centre of inclusive economic growth, poverty alleviation and job creation initiatives in South Africa,” adds Warrener.

“Supporting small business growth within the disability sector is a natural progression of Netcare’s transformation endeavours, which promote the creation of a society and economy that is inclusive of all South Africans, and has historically placed a particular emphasis on those with disabilities.”

According to Netcare’s general manager for enterprise and supplier development, Dr Nceba Ndzwayiba, the initiative with DPSA also forms part of Netcare’s broader supply chain diversification strategy which aims to increase Netcare’s procurement spend on 51% black owned emerging micro enterprises and qualifying small enterprises to at least R1 billion by 2020.

“DPSA, through Rhens’ Consulting, will champion the identification, training and development of high potential entrepreneurs within the disability sector and serve as a source of vendors for identified categories of products and services currently utilised by Netcare,” explains DPSA’s national treasurer, Sememeru Masemola.

Rhens’ Consulting is a 100% women owned exempt micro-enterprise headed by Rene Hendricks. Rhens’ specialises in learning solutions for, and the recruitment of persons with disabilities, where this offering was formalised through a joint venture with DPSA’s investment holdings subsidiary, which in turn has the DPSA mandate to explore commercial income streams in the interest of DPSA and its disabled member beneficiaries.  

 Masemola says that Rhens’ Consulting has received a grant as one of the outcomes of the Netcare partnership with DPSA, for the purpose of driving entrepreneurship development initiatives on behalf of DPSA and Netcare.

“Rhens’ Consulting has also been listed as a preferred recruitment agency for highly specialised nursing professionals for Netcare’s Western Cape region, as part of our supplier development programme. In addition, office space, equipment and access to various resources are provided to Rhens’ Consulting at no cost as part of our efforts to assist them to be operationally and financially sustainable,” explains Ndzwayiba.

Warrener says that Netcare has hitherto focused on driving learnerships and internships amongst other purposeful skills development initiatives that lead to permanent employment of persons with a disability.

“The group’s Sinako initiative and the focused attention on inclusive recruitment processes have yielded excellent results so far with regard to the representation of employees with a disability within Netcare, which rose by more than 1 000%, from 60 in 2008 to 626 in 2017. As at October 2017, over 3% of our workforce comprises valuable employees who have a disability”.

“We recognise the opportunity and responsibility that large corporations have to utilise their structures and resources to make a meaningful difference to small and medium businesses through enterprise and supplier development,” notes Ndzwayiba.

Ndzwayiba says that Netcare has consequently formed enterprise and supplier development partnerships with a number of majority black owned small enterprises which offer a range of products and services in emergency services, medical equipment, linen production and social services.

“Netcare is also currently evaluating opportunities and a number of proposals received from prospective enterprise and supplier development partners.”

One such enterprise and supplier development partner is Dube and Pottas Inc., with whom Netcare has had a relationship since 2012, when they opened a professional social worker services practice at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital.

“Having been granted operating premises and a range of resources at no cost, Dube and Pottas have since expanded to Netcare Rosebank, Netcare Milpark and Netcare Sunninghill hospitals. Their monthly revenue has increased by more than five times since their inception and they now employ 12 social workers compared with the three they started out with five years ago,” adds Ndzwayiba.

“For us at Netcare, it is essential to contribute to the creation of an entrepreneurship culture in our country and in the healthcare sector in particular, which is critical to the sustainability of our country.”

“The small business sector contributes almost 24% of the country’s total wage bill; and accounted for 35% of GDP overall in 2008 according to the Department of Trade and Industry (dti). Presently, however, South Africa has a high failure rate of small enterprises, projected to be as high as 75%.

“There are a range of nuanced and location specific factors that impede the success of small businesses in South Africa, which include lack of access to funding and other forms of support, denial of opportunities, and general lack of mentorship. We hope to make a meaningful difference in the removal of such barriers within our sphere of influence,” concludes Warrener.


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw     
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:,, and




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Drowning a year-round problem with statistics peaking in summer

Do not let a careless moment ruin your year-end vacation

Wednesday, December 13 2017

For South Africans summertime spells fun, sunshine and outdoor activities involving watersport and swimming. However, it can unfortunately also be a time fraught with tragedy for those who are inexperienced, unable to swim and who may for some or other reason be vulnerable to drowning.

David Stanton, head of clinical leadership at Netcare 911, asserts that emergency medical services providers such as Netcare 911 tend to receive more calls related to drowning and water-associated emergency incidents during December and January than any other months.

“Our statistics reveal that the greatest percentage of all drowning incidents during the year occur during the peak holiday periods. This is attributable to the high volumes of tourists, both foreign and local, who flock to the beaches during school holidays and over the festive season.”

Figure 1:
Netcare 911’s seasonal drowning statistics for the period October 2016 to September 2017

Figure 2:
Netcare 911’s provincial drowning statistics for the period October 2016 to September 2017

“Incidents of drowning are also significantly higher in the coastal areas than inland during December and January. Looking at data extracted from Netcare 911 for the period 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017, as much as 62% of all drowning incidents occurred during peak summer months. When reviewing statistics for the entire year, coastal areas reflect 55% of all drowning incidents.”

“KwaZulu-Natal saw the highest percentage of drowning incidents during the 12-month period, quite possibly because of the warm weather enjoyed all year round in the province and the fact that holiday makers, often from inland, flock to the coastal regions throughout the year. It is however disconcerting to note that Gauteng is in a close, second position reflecting 31.37% of all drownings,” notes Stanton.

Safety at the beach - tips from Netcare 911

  • Be absolutely vigilant where small children and older individuals are concerned. Keep a watchful eye on children at all times when around water.
  • Swim at beaches where lifeguards are on duty and keep to the specifically demarcated areas designated for safe swimming. For your own safety swim in the areas closest to the lifeguards.
  • Be mindful of warning signs that may indicate dangerous swimming conditions such as strong currents, sharks and other dangerous sea life as well as contaminated water.
  • Please remember that swimming in the ocean, where there is wave action and at times dangerous currents and sea life, is very different from swimming in a pool.
  • Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear life jackets or swimming aids to ensure their safety.
  • Be careful not to dive into water where you cannot see the bottom. It is particularly dangerous to dive into the water headfirst as you could very easily injure your neck.
  • Check the weather report before going to the beach. Be careful of lightening in particular and do not enter the water until at least 30 minutes after the thunder and lightening has stopped.
  • Steer clear of the ocean if you notice a choppy current with murky water.
  • If you get pulled out to sea, stay calm and save your energy. Allow the current to carry you for a while and then swim parallel to the shore until such time as you are out of the current. If you cannot swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are safe from the rip current.
  • Do not be ashamed to call for help if you are in trouble. Anyone, even the best swimmers, can run into difficulties at some or other time. It is important to signal for a lifeguard as soon as possible. The best way to do so when swimming in the ocean is to raise your arm as far out of the water as you can and to wave it around. The lifeguards will be with you as soon as they can. In the interim, stay calm and try to tread water, or if possible float on your back, until they reach you.
  • Be mindful of the waves as they are great deal more powerful than you may think. Pay close attention to children and elderly people especially, as wave action can easily result in a loss of footing, even in shallow water.
  • Stay sober at the beach as alcohol will not only impair your judgement, making you less careful, but it will also dehydrate you.
  • Use sunscreen, wear a hat, use an umbrella or a tent for shade and cover yourself up during the hottest time of day, which is generally between 10h00 and 16h00. 
  • Do not make use of a floatation device such as an inflatable bed, boat, noodle and other items unless you can swim properly. If you do go boating ensure that the boat is safe and that you are wearing a lifejacket. Don’t go out so sea unless you have checked the weather conditions.
  • When fishing be careful of walking on slippery rocks in case you lose your footing. Also be mindful of changing tides and rough seas that can knock you off the rocks.

“In any emergency situation the most important thing to do is contact the correct emergency number immediately. Try and memorise the number for emergency services in your area and keep the number saved on your cell phone and close to your landline telephone. In many cases, during the panic of a medical emergency, people cannot remember the correct number or cannot find where they have written it down. Contact Netcare 911 on the national number: 082 911,” he notes.

What to do in the event of drowning

  • Get the victim out of the water as soon as possible, but do not become a victim yourself. Make sure it is safe for you to enter the water first.
  • Handle the victim with care. Many submersion incidents are associated with neck injuries, so keep movement to the back and neck to a minimum.
  • Assess to see if the victim is awake by asking, “Hello can you hear me?”
  • Check for breathing by looking at the chest for no longer than 10 seconds. If the victim is not breathing or not breathing normally (i.e. gasping), call for immediate medical assistance.
  • Call, or have someone call, a recognised medical emergency service provider such as Netcare 911 on 082 911 as soon as possible. Whoever calls for the ambulance must give the dispatcher an accurate location of the incident and a contact number at the scene. Never hang up on the operator and always return to the rescuer to inform them that you have called for help.
  • If the victim is not breathing, immediately start CPR, beginning with chest compressions.  Keep doing CPR at a ratio of 30 chest compressions, and then 2 breaths. 
  • CPR is vital, even if it is an amateur administering it. Keep on doing it until someone who is trained in advanced life support arrives and can take over.
  • All parents should learn how to administer child CPR as it differs from adult CPR. All people can benefit from CPR training – it is not a difficult skill to learn.

According to Stanton, having multiple layers of safety such as a certified safety net, a fence with locked gate, a child-minder and a surface alarm around the pool and spa areas at home or around other open bodies of water can prevent accidents and drowning.

“A basic course in first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can make a dramatic difference in the outcome should the skills be applied timeously,” asserts Stanton.

For further information on CPR courses contact the Netcare 911 Faculty of Emergency and Critical Care on 010 209 8911 or visit the Netcare 911 website.


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:        ,,  or

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Metabolic surgery effective in managing health conditions associated with obesity

Netcare Greenacres Hospital home to Eastern Cape’s only accredited metabolic surgery centre

Tuesday, December 12 2017

Many South Africans have misconceptions about metabolic surgery, but an expert says that it offers obese individuals who have been struggling to lose weight with not only a highly effective means to achieve this but, far more importantly, it brings a number of health benefits for the great majority of patients as well.

“There are a large number of medical conditions associated with obesity including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnoea, joint pain and osteoarthritis, among others,” says Dr Nico van Niekerk, a surgeon who practises at Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth and heads up the multidisciplinary metabolic surgery centre at the facility.

“Many South Africans tend to think of this form of metabolic surgery, which is commonly known as bariatric surgery, as just a form of cosmetic weight loss surgery. In fact, while most patients find this particular outcome pleasing, the surgery really seeks to address the health issues and risks associated with obesity, as well as to meaningfully improve the patient’s quality of life,” emphasises Dr Van Niekerk.

“A high degree of disease resolution and very low complication rates are achieved at dedicated multi-disciplinary metabolic surgical centres such as the one established here at Netcare Greenacres Hospital,” he points out.

“At such facilities, metabolic surgery is a tried and proven option for those obese patients who qualify for it,” says Dr Van Niekerk, who is a highly experienced metabolic surgeon who has completed close on 200 of these procedures at the Port Elizabeth centre, which is the only one in the Eastern Cape to be accredited South African Society for Surgery, Obesity and metabolism (SASSO).   

“This form of treatment has, for example, proved so effective for type II diabetes sufferers around the world in recent years that in 2015 the Second Diabetes Surgery Summit included metabolic surgery in its global clinical practice guidelines as a standard treatment option for categories of people with diabetes.”

Dr Van Niekerk emphasises that metabolic surgery should only be undertaken at one of the 10 SASSO accredited metabolic centres that have been established nationally, as these centres follow and comply with strict international guidelines for metabolic surgery to ensure the highest levels patient safety and pre- and post operative care. Patients are, in addition, assured of internationally comparable levels of safety and care.

Strict rules and regulations with regard to patients’ dietary environment, as well as care in ICU and wards have to be followed at the SASSO-accredited centres. Training facilities with specialised technology and equipment are also used.

The dedicated multi-disciplinary teams at the SASSO centres are comprised of surgeons, endocrinologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and dieticians, among others, in line with the protocols advocated by SASSO, which is chaired by well known endocrinologist, Professor Tess van der Merwe.

“The SASSO-accredited metabolic centres are able to adopt an holistic approach to weight loss, and can determine the most practical solutions for each individual patient. In appropriate patients who have struggled to lose weight and regain their health for years, such holistic treatment is usually life changing,” says Dr Van Niekerk.

The centre at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand is the only internationally accredited centre for the treatment of bariatric and metabolic conditions in South Africa, and is the principal centre for the four other locally accredited metabolic surgery centres of excellence located at Netcare hospitals.

In addition to Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth and Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand, the other SASSO accredited centres of the Netcare group are located at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, Netcare N1 City Hospital in Cape Town and Netcare Sunward Park Hospital in Boksburg.


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:,,, or


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Going on holiday soon, then these handy tips will serve you well

Your practical guide to a safe and happy vacation

Thursday, December 7 2017

With the holiday season starting, many South Africans will soon be heading off to destinations around the country in search of some rest and relaxation.

“Although unforeseen accidents and illnesses are unavoidable, the necessary planning and preparation will ensure that they do not wreak havoc with your holiday,” says Dr Rene Leitch, who practises at Netcare Alberlito Hospital’s emergency department and has trained and worked as an emergency doctor for many years.

“Some of the most common illnesses or accidents that happen on vacation can be managed with over the counter medicine, home remedies and items found in a standard first aid kit. However, it is always wise to prepare for any eventuality in advance, for example to find out where the nearest hospital and medical centre to your holiday destination is situated in the case you or a family member may need expert care,” she adds.

Here are a few handy tips and some advice from Dr Leitch, which will help keep you and your loved ones happy and healthy while on holiday:

Travellers’ diarrhoea or acute gastroenteritis:
“The vast majority of stomach infections are viral, which means that antibiotics are not needed to treat them. Often, symptoms can be managed with rest and oral rehydration solutions. You can also make your own, effective oral rehydration solution by mixing six teaspoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt with a litre of clean water,” says Dr Leitch.

“Over the counter medications for stomach cramps and diarrhoea can also provide some relief. However, it is very important that you tell your pharmacist or doctor if you have any pre-existing conditions or allergies when asking for the medication. See your nearest doctor or visit an emergency department for assistance in the event that symptoms persist or if they become more severe,” she adds. 



According to Dr Leitch, prevention is key and it is therefore best to avoid exposure to direct sunlight between 10:00 and 15:00, which is the time of day when UV rays are at their strongest. “Wear protective clothing, including a wide-brimmed hat, and generously apply sunscreen with a high protection factor at least thirty minutes before going outside. Remember to reapply your sunscreen frequently, especially after swimming,” she suggests.

Typical home remedies for sunburn include applying a cold compress to the area as well as aftersun gel or moisturiser. If you have been sunburnt, your body will be dehydrated and it is therefore important to drink plenty of water. Over the counter medication that may help to relieve the symptoms of sunburn, include anti-inflammatory medicine and analgesics. Once again, make sure that you tell your pharmacist or doctor if you have any pre-existing conditions or allergies before asking for medication. 

“If you start to show symptoms including fever, headache, vomiting, dizziness or confusion you may well be suffering from heat stroke and should get medical attention as soon as possible,” cautions Dr Leitch.

Water safety:
“Always be very careful when around water and never overestimate your swimming ability. Be particularly vigilant around water if you have young children,” Dr Leitch warns. “Even the strongest swimmer can be swept away by a strong current or large wave. Be cautious when swimming in the sea, as there are many unpredictable currents and rips in the ocean, as well as sudden drops due to sandbanks forming beneath the water. Only swim in the designated areas marked by lifeguards, and never go swimming in the ocean at night.” 

“Dams and rivers can be equally dangerous, especially during the summer rainy season. Never dive into shallow or murky water that you do not know the depth of, as you could sustain a head or neck injury that could lead to paralysis,” she adds.

Stings and bites

Malaria: It is important to consult a travel health doctor or your family practitioner a few weeks before visiting a malaria area, as some malaria medication must be taken well before entering a malaria area,” suggests Dr Leitch.

Insect and spider bites: “If you get bitten or stung by an insect or spider, clean the wound with a diluted antiseptic solution or apply antiseptic cream. Never scratch, prick, suck or cut the affected area, as this does not aid healing and may create a risk of infection. If you are known to have a severe allergy to bee stings, be sure to have your epinephrine auto-injector on hand at all times and inform your travelling companions of your allergy.

“It is normal for a sting or bite to cause slight redness, pain and swelling, but any excessive skin reaction, shortness of breath, vomiting, diarrhoea or change in the voice can be an indication of a severe allergic reaction which could be life-threatening and requires immediate emergency medical attention,” warns Dr Leitch.

Snakebite: If left untreated, a snakebite can be life-threatening. It is therefore imperative to get to an emergency room as soon as possible to receive anti-venom when appropriate. It is always best to try give a description or photo of the snake that bit you so that the doctors will know what type of poison they are dealing with,” adds Dr Leitch.

“The best way to avoid getting stung or bitten is by reducing or preventing your contact with insects, spiders and snakes. The following tips will help you to avoid stings and bites while on holiday,” concludes Dr Leitch.

  • If you go camping or travelling, make sure you are aware of the insects, spiders and snakes that are commonly found in the area you are visiting and ensure that you have the proper gear including shoes, gloves, socks etc. to protect yourself.
  • Always have insect repellent handy, especially if you are spending time outdoors.
  • Take extra care during dusk and dawn when many insects are at their most active.
  • Avoid lifting rocks and stones, especially in areas that are usually undisturbed.
  • Do not provoke or handle any insects or spiders and especially not snakes.
  • If you are travelling to a region where any insect or spider related illnesses are endemic, make sure you take the proper preventative medication and that you have received the appropriate vaccinations.


Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Alberlito Hospital
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:        (011) 469 3016
Email:         ,, or

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Fragment of Sobukwe history cherished at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital

Retired cardiothoracic surgeon recalls his time with revered struggle veteran in interview

Tuesday, December 5 2017

On the 93rd anniversary of the birth of struggle veteran Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, Netcare has made a recorded interview with one of the surgeons who cared for him at Groote Schuur Hospital available to a wider audience for the first time.

“The interview, which provides some fascinating insights into the life of this towering figure in our unfortunate past, is part of the historically significant collection exhibited on the twelfth floor of the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital,” says Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare.

“We consider it a tremendous honour to be the custodians of this piece of South African history, and it has been a fixture of the public display since the hospital opened in its new building on the Cape Town Foreshore in December last year. To help bring this material to a wider audience, we have decided to share Dr Jose de Nobrega’s interview about his time with Mr Sobukwe with the media and people who may otherwise not have access to it. The link to the interview will also be posted on the Netcare Limited and Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital’s Facebook pages.”

Retired cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr De Nobrega, was a consultant to the iconic unit at Groote Schuur Hospital run by cardiac surgeon, Professor Christiaan Barnard. In the interview, he relates his memories of Mr Sobukwe’s time at the hospital, where he received treatment for lung cancer, as well as of the three weeks the Pan African Congress leader spent in his home recuperating.

The interview includes Dr De Nobrega’s recollection of interactions between Mr Sobukwe and Prof Barnard, including the venerated heart surgeon banishing apartheid security officers from Mr Sobukwe’s ward “as if they were 12-year-old schoolboys”, and Mr Sobukwe’s polite decline to Professor Barnard’s invitation to take part in an interview with international journalists.

During the interview, which was recorded last year, Dr De Nobrega describes taking the anti-apartheid hero for a drive to help relieve the boredom of his recuperation.

“We get into the car and I say, ‘Where do you want to go?’ and he said he wants to go to Signal Hill. He got out of the car and I said, ‘What do you want to do now, Robert?’ ‘I want to see Robben Island’. I didn’t say a word,” Dr De Nobrega relates in the recording.

Dr Friedland notes that the interview clip is a treasured relic of a man whose actions from decades ago continue to shape South African society today.

“Through Dr De Nobrega’s words, something of the character of this great man, Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe, comes to life again. It is an immense privilege to have this material in our collection at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, and we share it more widely because his contribution to our country should never be forgotten,” he concluded.

Follow this link to play audio, click here


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Limited
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney and Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:, or


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Gated communities can cause emergency workers unnecessary delays

Residential estates encouraged to enable access to paramedics

Tuesday, December 5 2017

Homes situated within residential estates have become a more and more popular option across South Africa. There are, however, some emergency situations when heavily guarded access points to these communities can be more of a hindrance than a help.

Shalen Ramduth, director: business development and support services at emergency medical services provider Netcare 911, says that emergency medical teams do sometimes experience delays at the gates of a residential complex, gated community or business park when security guards insist on being provided with full credentials before they will grant them access.

“While these kinds of tight security procedures are quite understandable and have been put in place to protect residents, time is always of the essence in emergency situations and holdups of this nature can potentially have serious consequences for the patient,” he notes.

Review your access controls
“Netcare 911 consequently strongly recommends that homeowners’ associations and body corporates consider and review their access controls to cater for the possibility of such emergency situations,” advises Ramduth.

“Estates, complexes, gated communities and office parks should put a comprehensive set of protocols in place to enable legitimate emergency services providers such as Netcare 911 easy access in the event of a medical emergency.”

Ramduth says that Netcare 911 is one best known emergency medical services providers in the country, so it is therefore extremely rare for the well branded and equipped Netcare 911 emergency vehicles and ambulances to be prevented or delayed in accessing secured premises.

“A few years ago, however, I personally experienced this kind of situation,” relates the Netcare 911 advanced life support paramedic. “It was extremely frustrating for us as the emergency team, particularly as we knew that a resident of an estate had depended on our urgent assistance for severe chest pain.

“The guards nevertheless insisted that we first prove our identity and tried to contact the homeowner to obtain permission for us to enter. They argued that they were ‘only doing their job’, which of course was the case, but their actions potentially placed a patient at risk.”

Speak to your security company
Ramduth says that once your gated community or complex has established a set of access protocols for emergency services providers, it must take care to effectively relate these protocols to their security company.

“Security staff must be properly trained to know when it is necessary to grant access to an emergency services provider. If guards have concerns about the legitimacy of an ambulance or emergency vehicle, one of them could be asked to accompany the vehicle, rather than delay it at the entrance to an estate,” he advises.

“Security staff should always be adequately trained and be provided with a comprehensive list of emergency contact numbers. They can also be informed that the Netcare 911 national emergency operations centre number can be contacted at any time on 082 911 in the event of a medical emergency,” notes Ramduth.

Helping to facilitate rapid response times
Is there anything the caller or patient themselves can do to enable a quicker paramedic response time? Ramduth says that, if possible, the caller should contact their security company or gate security personnel in order to facilitate immediate access for an ambulance or other emergency response vehicle.

He recommends that residents of residential estates with a medical emergency who require assistance call the Netcare 911 emergency operations centre and do as follows:

  • Give your name and the telephone number you are calling from to the call taker.
  • Provide a brief description of the emergency and circumstances.
  • Be sure to provide the correct address or location of the incident to assist paramedics to get to the scene.
  • Contact, or get someone else to contact, your security company to ensure paramedics are able to access your complex easily.
  • Stay on the line with the call centre operator and listen carefully to their questions and guidance.

“With a bit of advance planning by both the individual and the community, potential delays can be avoided and the best possible outcomes achieved for patients in an emergency situation,” concludes Ramduth.


Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw        
Telephone:        (011) 469 3016
Email:         ,,, or

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Honour bestowed on Netcare Hospital

Netcare Garden City voted runner up in Readers’ Choice awards

Tuesday, December 5 2017

Netcare Garden City Hospital has been voted the runner up in The Star newspaper’s latest Readers' Choice awards.

“The Star Readers’ Choice awards provide the opportunity for Johannesburg’s citizens to acknowledge those companies which distinguish themselves in terms of excellence and quality of service,” says Jayesh Parshotam, general manager of Netcare Garden City Hospital. “It is truly humbling that our efforts have been recognised in this way.”

“This accolade represents a vote of confidence by the community in the quality of care provided to patients by the hospital and an acknowledgement of the skill and dedication of the doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals, administrative and services staff who work at the hospital. We are grateful that the hospital has become such an integral and important part of the community we serve and will continue to provide our patients with quality care and service excellence,” he adds.

Sandile Mbele, Netcare Regional Director: Gauteng South West, says: “Healthcare is probably the most challenging sector when it comes to meeting the expectations of clients, as it impacts people’s lives in a much more profound manner than other sectors within the services industry.

“The acknowledgement can be attributed to the staff members and healthcare professionals practising at the hospital living the company’s values of care, dignity, participation, truth and passion in their daily interactions with patients and their families, colleagues and the wider communities they serve. This enables them to consistently deliver the quality care that the people of Johannesburg expect and appreciate.”

The 363-bed Netcare Garden City Hospital, situated in Mayfair in Johannesburg, offers a comprehensive range of medical services but is perhaps best known for its bone marrow transplant unit and neonatal/paediatric intensive care unit. Patients from all over South Africa and the African continent are referred to these units as a result of their immense expertise in these fields.

“The award bestowed on Netcare Garden City Hospital in The Star Readers’ Choice bears testimony to the trust and confidence that the people of Gauteng have in the hospital,” concludes Mbele. “We extend our thanks to the community for this honour and for their on-going support.”


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Garden City Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:,, or


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Electrician lucky to be alive following severe electric shock

Good Samaritan, two more shocks, and continuum of care save KZN father

Monday, December 4 2017

Twenty-six-year-old electrician Lungani Mbatha is living proof of the critical importance of the continuum of care, also known as the ‘chain of survival’.

Mr Mbatha was working on a construction site near Durban when an unexpected disaster struck. “I have never had a serious electrical shock before, and I can’t remember much of what happened. All I know is that we were busy connecting wires, I shouted out and I don’t remember anything after that until I woke up in Netcare uMhlanga Hospital,” he says.

Pic: Marc van Heerden, general manager of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital who worked as an advanced life support paramedic for over 20 years, says that excellent communication between the Netcare 911 paramedics and the hospital's emergency department played a significant role in Mr Mbatha’s recovery. Pictured with him are (back) advanced life support paramedic, Shaun Paul,  and intermediate life support paramedics, Isaac Pillay and Collin Krishnalall. 

According to Netcare 911 advanced life support paramedic, Shaun Paul, Mr Mbatha owes his life to the streamlined emergency medical care he received, starting with a Good Samaritan who recognised that Mr Mbatha was not breathing and did not have a pulse after he collapsed from the shock then immediately initiated cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), as well as the early activation of emergency medical services (EMS) to attend to Mr Mbatha.

‘Chain of survival’ is a principle of emergency cardiac care, which includes early recognition of cardiac arrest and activation of appropriate EMS, including commencing CPR as soon as possible, early defibrillation, as well as advanced cardiac life support and in-hospital treatment for post-cardiac arrest care.

“The chain of survival certainly made all the difference in this patient’s survival. The early intervention of the bystander, who initiated CPR before paramedics arrived, probably made the difference between life and death for Mr Mbatha. If the Good Samaritan had not started CPR, it is probable that the patient’s heart would not have been in a rhythm that was responsive to treatment,” Paul says.

Physician, Dr Nitin Ghila, who later received and provided treatment to Mr Mbatha in the emergency department of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, explains that the electrical shock caused ventricular fibrillation, a severe disruption of the heart muscles’ natural electrical impulses that control the heartbeat. This resulted in cardiac arrest, as his heart was unable to pump vital oxygenated blood through the body.  

Paul, as well as intermediate life support paramedics, Isaac Pillay and Collin Krishnalall, arrived on the scene three minutes after receiving the call, to find a crowd of anxious on-lookers surrounding Mr Mbatha and the man performing CPR on him. The paramedics immediately took over the resuscitation efforts.

“Using a manual defibrillator, we administered one electric shock and then continued performing chest compressions and ventilations. We had to administer another dose of electric current with the manual defibrillator at a higher setting, and managed to get a pulse,” Paul says.

He commended Pillay and Krishnalall for the level of co-operation between them in delivering life-saving care. “Their actions were synchronised, and they remained focused on establishing a pulse,” Paul adds.

“The patient started to regain consciousness and was rather disoriented, which is not uncommon following resuscitation after a cardiac arrest. His breathing was, however, still laboured and we had to put him in a medically induced coma and intubate him to ensure he was well oxygenated and his airway was maintained prior the journey to hospital.”

Given the nature of Mr Mbatha’s condition, the Netcare 911 team decided that the emergency department at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital was the most appropriate facility to provide him with definitive treatment.  

“Netcare uMhlanga Hospital was deemed appropriate as it has the relevant cardiac expertise to assist a patient with such a medical condition, and we alerted the hospital that we were on our way. The handover was streamlined, and the trauma team knew exactly what to do, so that care could continue seamlessly,” Paul observes.

Dr Ghila recalls that when Mr Mbatha arrived at the hospital, he was on a ventilator and restless but stable. “The pre-hospital care he received was exceptional, and this is of the utmost importance in a medical emergency,” he notes.

“The paramedics and the bystander who initiated CPR certainly helped to save Mr Mbatha’s life. In any resuscitation, time is of the essence, and Mr Mbatha was fortunate that someone was on hand to recognise that he needed CPR and perform it until Netcare 911 arrived to provide definitive treatment.

“Fortunately, we found that the patient sustained no serious burns or fractures in the accident. We have been closely monitoring his heart and he has done very well so far. Mr Mbatha was soon transferred from an intensive care unit to a general ward, and has since been discharged home.”

The general manager of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, Marc van Heerden, recognises the importance of an efficient ‘chain of survival’ for patients faced with an emergency cardiac event.

“Having worked as an advanced life support paramedic for over 20 years, I know that each aspect of the continuum of care is vital to achieving the best possible outcome for a patient. The high level of expertise and excellent communication between the paramedics and our emergency department certainly played a significant role in Mr Mbatha’s recovery,” Van Heerden observes.

Pic: Netcare 911 advanced life support paramedic, Shaun Paul, and intermediate life support paramedics, Isaac Pillay and Collin Krishnalall, attended to Mr Lungani Mbatha, an electrician who suffered cardiac arrest after a severe electric shock. 

Mr Mbatha expressed his gratitude to everyone who helped him in his time of need. “I am so thankful to be here today. To the person who made the call to Netcare 911 and to the man who gave me CPR, I do not remember any of this, but I am told that they helped to keep me alive so I would like to say thank you very, very much. I am so grateful to the paramedics, doctors and nurses, and I would also like to thank Netcare for all the support they have showed me,” Mr Mbatha concluded.  


Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare 911 and Netcare uMhlanga Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:,, or


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Hospital celebrates 125 years of service to the greater Durban community

125 years of caring

Tuesday, November 28 2017

The corridors of Durban’s landmark Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital were abuzz with excitement as the local  ‘grande dame’ of hospitals commemorated its 125th jubilee recently, with doctors, nurses, other healthcare professionals and patients all joining in the celebration.

Commenting on the anniversary, Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital general manager, Heinrich Venter said: “We are delighted and proud to be celebrating this very special occasion. The hospital has made a great contribution in the community over the years, with staff having cared for and touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients and their families.”

“Today the hospital remains a beacon of hope for the people of Durban and indeed from further afield, who continue to rely on its specialised, world-class healthcare services. The 125th anniversary is a milestone for the hospital, and it is most gratifying to know that we are a part of such a rich legacy.”

One of the oldest hospitals in the country, Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital developed from humble beginnings as it was initially established in 1892 by nine Augustinian sisters from France as a sanatorium to treat tuberculosis patients.  

The regional director of Netcare’s coastal region, Craig Murphy, says that ‘The San’, as it is often affectionately referred to, has become an integral part of the community, which it has served with distinction and dedication, and has played an important role in the development of private medicine within KwaZulu-Natal.

“The 464-bed facility is widely acknowledged to be a premier private hospital in the province, and has won numerous external awards for service excellence over the years,” he notes.

“The medical practitioners, other healthcare professionals, nurses, administrative and services staff who have worked at the hospital through the years deserve praise for their dedication, commitment, professionalism and the outstanding levels of care that they have provided to patients,” observes Murphy.

“The hospital has been a constant and reassuring presence for the sick and injured in the greater Durban area,” affirms Dr Leon Rajah, an orthopaedic surgeon and chairman of the hospital’s Physicians Advisory Board. “While rapidly advancing technology has allowed us to provide better and better care, we remain committed to always maintaining our caring human touch.”

Ruth Naude, a recently retired registered nurse who served in the paediatric ward of the hospital for 35 years, remembers her time at the historic facility with the greatest fondness.

 “When my son was born prematurely and diagnosed with Down syndrome, the support, understanding and love received from the entire hospital was wonderful, and this certainly helped to get me through a most difficult time.

“I once nursed a critically ill baby girl who had lost her hearing due to meningitis. Her parents returned to see me when she was two years old, and again after she had matriculated and was about to enter university, to let me know how well she had progressed. These were among my most rewarding and memorable occasions of my time at the hospital.”

ENT (ear, nose and throat) surgeon, Dr Walter R Hackmann, says he is proud to have been a part of the St Augustine’s family for the past 50 years.

“I feel most privileged to have spent my entire ENT career at this outstanding institution and grateful to have had the assistance and co-operation of managers and staff members throughout my time at the hospital,” he observes.

“I have always felt confident and reassured by the excellent levels of care provided by the facility to my patients and the citizens of the City of Durban.”

Venter says that Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital has shown a high degree of innovation throughout its long history. In 1982, a full body scanner – highly sophisticated technology for its time — was introduced.

Another significant milestone included performing the first laser angioplasty in KwaZulu-Natal. In 2000 Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital became the first hospital in Durban to open a hyperbaric medicine centre to treat conditions such as air or gas embolism; decompression sickness and carbon monoxide and cyanide poisoning, among others.

“Working in a hospital environment requires engaging with people when they are at their most vulnerable. It is only thanks to the compassion and kindness of those who have worked here throughout the years and also today, that Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital has built up a reputation for quality care and service excellence,” he adds.

“We at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital will strive to uphold and deliver on Netcare’s values of care, dignity, participation, truth and passion, and this is evident in the commitment and professionalism that the staff and doctors bring to their work every day,” he concludes.


Issued by:     Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of the Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:,, za or


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