Media releases

Four hundred metabolic procedure milestone for KZN hospital

Metabolic intervention has numerous health benefits for many obese patients

Thursday, October 19 2017

Surgeon Dr Gert du Toit and his partner Dr Ivor Funnell of the Durban Metabolic Surgery Centre at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, yesterday completed their 400th metabolic procedure on a 21-year-old overweight patient who said she felt privileged to be able to have the surgery.

Photo: The Durban Metabolic Surgery Centre at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban recently completed a milestone of 400 metabolic procedures. From left are: Andrew Bodley, Ethicon Johnson and Johnson; Cheryl Lutchmiah, surgical ward unit manager; Dr Ivor Funnell, surgeon; Ms Sanchia Tibshaeny, patient; and Dr Gert Du Toit, surgeon.

“I have struggled with my weight my entire life and have tried absolutely everything to get it under control,” said Sanchia Tibshraeny from Durban shortly before the procedure. “My family and I have undertaken years of research into the best way I can achieve weight loss, and it became abundantly clear to us that laparoscopic metabolic surgery would be the best and safest route for me.

“I wanted to have the procedure a few years ago, but for various reasons I wasn’t able to then, and I am glad that I had to wait, as I now feel more mature and completely ready for it,” added Tibshraeny, who said that she suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as a result of being overweight.

“I am so excited to be able to finally have the procedure done by Dr Du Toit, and it is an honour to be his 400th patient. This is clearly the metabolic surgery centre with the most experienced and expert team in KwaZulu-Natal.”

Dr Du Toit, who runs the multidisciplinary Durban Metabolic Surgery centre together with surgical partner, Dr Funnell, said after Ms Tibshraeny’s procedure that the surgery was successful and he expected her to begin benefitting from it soon. A further procedure, the team’s 401st, was successfully completed directly after Ms Tibshraeny’s operation yesterday.

“There are four different types of metabolic surgeries available today and not only are they exceptionally low risk minimally invasive procedures, but they show outstanding results for most patients, who find them life changing.

“The metabolic surgery options offer a highly effective means of tackling obesity, and also have a high degree of success in resolving conditions such as PCOS, blood sugar problems, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, mobility and joint problems, and a number of others which are commonly associated with obesity,” explains Dr Du Toit.

The managing director of Netcare’s Hospital division, Jacques du Plessis, said that Dr Du Toit’s achievement in completing a milestone 400 procedures at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital’s metabolic centre, which is fully accredited by the South African Society for Surgery, Obesity and metabolism (SASSO), was nothing short of outstanding.

“These figures highlight the high level of professionalism that has been achieved at the Durban Metabolic Surgery Centre, which has brought hope to so many obese patients within KwaZulu-Natal province.”

“The centre was recently recognised with the inaugural ‘Centre of the Year’ award from SASSO, and Dr Du Toit and his team are to be congratulated for their life-changing treatment of obese patients,” notes Du Plessis.

Dr Du Toit explains that metabolic surgery, which is undertaken laparoscopically through small puncture holes in the abdomen, limits how much you can eat and also reduces the absorption of nutrients by the digestive system. The individual consequently feels satiated, or full, after consuming smaller portions of food and experiences changes in the entire metabolic system to support weight loss.

Dr Du Toit says that many South Africans tend to mistakenly think of this form of metabolic surgery, which is commonly known as bariatric surgery, as purely cosmetic weight loss surgery.

“In the great majority of cases where patients are treated and properly supported before and after surgery by a multidisciplinary team, however, the metabolic surgery approach not only achieves outstanding weight loss results but numerous associated health benefits, with an extremely low degree of risk.”

“Many overweight South Africans such as Ms Tibshraeny know how difficult it is to achieve sustained weight loss through dieting and exercise alone.

“Metabolic surgery is a viable treatment for many individuals who have struggled with obesity and its associated health risks. It is also highly effective in enabling patients to maintain weight loss over the long term,” concludes Dr Du Toit.  

Notes to editors: Centres of excellence for metabolic medicine and surgery
There are currently five centres of excellence for metabolic medicine and surgery at Netcare hospitals, offering patients access to specialised metabolic surgery, including gastric bypass procedures.

These centres of excellence are located at Netcare Sunward Park Hospital in Boksburg, Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth, Netcare N1 City Hospital in Cape Town, and Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand, Gauteng.  The centre at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital is the only internationally accredited centre for the treatment of metabolic conditions in South Africa, and is the principal centre for the four other locally accredited centres of excellence located at Netcare hospitals.

The dedicated multidisciplinary teams at these centres are comprised of surgeons, endocrinologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and dieticians, among others, in line with the protocols advocated by the South African Society for Surgery, Obesity and metabolism (SASSO), which is chaired by endocrinologist, Professor Tess van der Merwe. As director of the Centres of Excellence for Metabolic Medicine and Surgery of South Africa (CEMMS)(SA), Prof Van der Merwe oversees the work of the centres of excellence, including those based at Netcare hospitals.

The centres adhere to international practises to create a safe environment and to support obese patients with empathy and care. To comply with international standards, a database with statistics on each patient is maintained. Strict protocols and regulations with regard to patients’ dietary environment, as well as care in ICU and wards are followed. Training facilities with specialised technology and equipment are also incorporated in the centres.        


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

 

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Partnership enables cataract surgery for disadvantaged South Africans

‘Gift of Sight’ initiative restores vision of cataract patients

Thursday, October 19 2017

“I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing an 88-year-old “gogo” to see again. My smile is now everlasting, as I can see my grandchildren and family clearly again.”

Pictured at the event to acknowledge the Nedbank Foundation’s donation to the Gift of Sight project of the Netcare Foundation were: Back row, left  to right: Peter Warrener, Netcare Group HR director and trustee of the Netcare Foundation; Thabile Zulu, portfolio manager of the Nedbank Foundation; Mr Jeremiah Mthupi, cataract surgery patient; Bule Ntuli, Nedbank CSI alignment and reporting; Mr Grant Engelsman, cataract surgery patient; and Dr Nceba Ndzwayiba, general manager enterprise and supplier development at Netcare. 

Front row, left to right: Sharlene Swart, CSI project & funding manager/National Netcare Stork’s Nest co-ordinator at Netcare; Adelaide Senabe, CSI project manager of the Netcare Foundation; Mrs Nomasontu Tsuari and Mrs Violet Favor, cataract surgery patients. 

These were the heartfelt words of gratitude from Mrs Nomasontu Tsuari, who is one of the patients whose sight was restored through the Netcare Foundation’s Gift of Sight project.

Mrs Tsuari’s surgery was made possible by a donation by the Nedbank Foundation to the Gift of Sight project, which aims to provide disadvantaged South Africans with access to these vision-restoring procedures.

The Nedbank Foundation has supported the Gift of Sight project over the past three years with donations of over R400 000.

“Cataract blindness is the world’s leading cause of reversible blindness and it is critical that sufferers are able to access this life-changing surgery at the earliest opportunity,” said Peter Warrener, Group HR director at Netcare and trustee of the Netcare Foundation, at a special event held at Netcare’s head office in Sandton, Johannesburg, to thank the Nedbank Foundation for their support and to share in the success of their operations with some of the recipients.

“The Gift of Sight programme is most grateful to the Nedbank Foundation for this generous funding which has enabled a number of cataract operations for disadvantaged patients who would not otherwise have been able to afford it,” Warrener explained.

Speaking at the event, Thabile Zulu, portfolio manager of the Nedbank Foundation, said: “Our Foundation’s support of Gift of Sight, as well as other healthcare initiatives in South Africa, are a tangible expression of Nedbank’s stated purpose to use its expertise and resources to make a positive contribution to the development of our people and communities across the country.”

Warrener explained that although government had undertaken a substantial campaign to reduce cataract blindness in South Africa in recent years, thousands still suffer from the condition because waiting lists for the procedure are long and many people do not realise that cataract blindness is, in the majority of cases, completely reversible.

“A procedure undertaken by ophthalmic specialists removes the cataract, and surgically implants a special new artificial lens, which can completely restore the patient’s vision. The Netcare Foundation’s Gift of Sight initiative aims to assist public sector programmes to make this important operation more widely accessible to South Africans,” he added.

Zulu said that the Nedbank Foundation is touched that its contribution to Gift of Sight had assisted patients in need of cataract surgery, as the beneficiaries, most of whom are unemployed and disadvantaged would not have been able to afford it themselves.”

Untreated cataracts can potentially rob people of their independence, impair their dignity and often prevents them from even undertaking simple day-to-day tasks, such as cooking and reading, not to mention their very livelihoods in some cases.

“The Gift of Sight cataract surgery is performed at a number of Netcare hospitals, with many being undertaken as part of Netcare’s corporate social responsibility initiatives during Eye Care Awareness Month in September/October,” Warrener added.

“We have helped many people to realise their full potential or regain their quality of life, and are now looking to reach people in more remote areas of South Africa, as we continue to touch the lives of those individuals who are so often forgotten by society,” concludes Warrener.

Note to editors

The Netcare Foundation was established in 2010 and is registered as a public benefit company. It is governed by a board of trustees. In partnership with various organisations and healthcare practitioners, it has changed the lives of hundreds of South Africans afflicted with treatable medical conditions through its CSI programmes.

In order to qualify for surgery through the Gift of Sight programme, applicants must be South African citizens and present their identity document or birth certificate. They must either be unemployed or reliant on a state grant. If they do receive an income, it should be no more than R2 000 per month. A means-of-living test is applied.

Applicants also should have no access to a medical scheme or insurance cover and need to provide their own transport for consultations.

Applicants or their family members are invited to make contact via email on sharlene.swart@netcare.co.za or adelaide.senabe@netcare.co.za, telephonically on (011) 301 0374 or (011) 301 0107.

As a bank that is highly involved in the communities we serve, Nedbank’s corporate social responsibility efforts focus on education, children’s welfare, arts and culture, sport development, skills and community development as well as health. The Gift of Sight initiative is another proof point of our purpose, as financial expertise which benefits individuals, families, communities and businesses across South Africa. Through this initiative and others, Nedbank is doing its fair share in contributing towards building sustainable communities.
 
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Issued by:     Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of the Netcare Foundation             and Nedbank Foundation
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Alison Sharp or Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, alison@mnapr.co.za or meggan@mnapr.co.za

 

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Sports day for the disabled gives back hope, excitement and motivation

Event aims to empower adults and children living with disabilities

Tuesday, October 17 2017

In the 17 years since its inception, Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital in Johannesburg’s annual sports day for people with disabilities has become an inspiration and a beacon of hope, which celebrates the possibilities and abilities that can be attained, even after suffering a disability as a result of severe injury or illness.

This year, the sports day will take place on Friday, 20 October 2017 and is expected to attract nearly 800 participants and supporters from Gauteng and surrounding areas. Many of the participants are individuals who have experienced what can only be described as life changing, traumatic injury or illness and either have spent weeks or even months undergoing physical rehabilitation and therapy or are still undergoing rehabilitation.

In addition to demonstrating that many people with disabilities can live meaningful and active lives, this year’s theme “Strive for progress, not perfection” has another message to convey. Joe Sandows, general manager of Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital explains.

“To patients who sustain injuries that lead to disability, the feeling of hopelessness and fear can be overwhelming and many times, the only thing a patient wants, is to go back to being their old selves. This usually involves the need to perfectly regain every ability they had before sustaining their injuries or illnesses,” says Sandows.

“Then, when this goal of perfection seems unreachable, patients tend to become extremely discouraged, often losing hope and forgetting all the progress they have made during rehabilitation.

“The message we want to convey is that recovery does not mean that you have managed to perfect old abilities again, it means that you have developed new ones that will enable you to live a full and meaningful life.

“That is why, this year, we are celebrating the excellent progress that our patients have made so far while applauding their strength and courage. We also want to pay tribute to patients’ families and friends, and the fundamental role their continuous love and support plays in the recovery of their loved ones,” Sandows adds.

The sports day will entail patients participating in several sporting and cultural events including wheelchair basketball, shot put, choir singing, volleyball and racing. And for the little ones, there will be fun games and face painting in the hospital foyer.

Sandile Mbele, regional director of Netcare’s South West region is an avid supporter of the annual sports day and will be attending the event again this year.

“The Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital sports day is one of the most inspiring events in our region’s calendar and provides immense hope and support to the 7,5% of South Africans who live with a disability, as well as their family and friends. “It is more than a day of fun and games, it educates the public and breaks the negative stereotypes that are attached to those living with disabilities,” says Mbele.

Sandows concludes with a number of helpful tips for families and caregivers of people living with a disability, on how to better cope with the challenging circumstances:

  • Do not try to do it all. Make sure you have your own support network to assist you when you need it. Taking care of a person who is living with a disability is often no easy task and there is no shame in asking for help.
  • Attend to your own needs as well. Some family members of people living with a disability tend to neglect their own needs. There is nothing wrong with having fun with friends, spoiling yourself and having hobbies. You are entitled to happiness.
  • Accept your feelings. When you experience trauma, you will be bombarded by an array of feelings including fear, anger, resentment and sorrow. Do not feel guilty when you experience these feelings. If you accept your feelings and let them grow and fade naturally, you will be able to regain emotional health much quicker.

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Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Rehabilitation 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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Netcare Margate Hospital empowers learners to feel confident about their bodies

RA Engar Primary School girls educated on the importance of menstrual hygiene

Monday, October 16 2017

Learners at the RA Engar Primary School in Port Shepstone were recently visited by a gynaecologist and staff members of Netcare Margate Hospital who shared an inspirational message with the girls about the importance of standing tall and to focus on their dreams no matter what.

Pic "A gynaecologist and staff members of Netcare Margate Hospital recently visited the RA Engar Primary School in Port Shepstone to share an inspirational message with learners about the importance of standing tall and focusing on their dreams no matter what. Pictured here are some of the learners, teachers and staff members who attended, with gynaecologist Dr Shavi Govender (far right, middle row) and the school’s principal, Dr Mala Appalraju (6th from left, back row)."

Gynaecologist Dr Shavi Govender addressed the older girls about the delicate yet all-important topic of personal hygiene.
 
Dr Govender, who practises at Netcare Margate Hospital, says when it comes to menstruation, many girls find it embarrassing to talk about, and therefore unfortunately remain misinformed about some of the more pertinent details pertaining to the topic.  

“The aim of the visit was to educate and empower these girls through providing them with credible information and advice in an effort to debunk some of the common myths and misperceptions surrounding menstruation.

“It is absolutely vital for young girls to understand that menstruation is completely natural and merely part of the maturation process. The more information they have at hand, the more they will be empowered to make informed choices and decisions regarding their personal health and lifestyle choices,” she says.

According to Dr Govender one of the sad realities is that many girls of school going age simply do not have the means to buy the necessary sanitary products, and instead resort to either skipping school or making use of other, unhygienic alternatives.

“Some girls from disadvantaged backgrounds have a drawback throughout their teenage years and are often left feeling helpless and embarrassed, which can greatly impact their self-esteem. Most go through their periods very secretively and therefore are often not aware that some of their practices are, in fact, not hygienic and therefore not healthy. Sharing information around this was therefore one of the main aims of today’s visit,” she points out.

Part of the message conveyed in Dr Govender’s address to the learners included what sanitary products to use, and how to use and dispose of them correctly. In addition, the girls were taught the importance of changing their sanitary towels and washing regularly, particularly during their period.

Learners who attended the talk also received a pack of sanitary towels sponsored by Netcare Margate Hospital’s renal department, Lancet Laboratories, Ampath Laboratories and Global Labs.

“It’s important that people realise that menstruation is not just a women’s issue, it is a societal issue that continues to impact thousands of girls around the country every month. It is up to us as healthcare providers to step up and do what we can to break down any common misperceptions and to increase access to sanitary products in order to ensure that these young girls feel confident about themselves and their bodies,” Dr Govender concludes.


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

 

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Netcare’s 2017 blood donation challenge set to save over 13 000 lives

Donating one pint of your blood can potentially save up to three lives

Monday, October 16 2017

As part of its national blood conservation programme, Netcare has hosted over 100 blood donation drives in its hospitals countrywide so far this year. In the process they have successfully collected an impressive 4 364 life-saving pints for the South African National Blood Service (SANBS).

Commenting on the programme, Netcare’s national blood conservation co-ordinator, Rene Grobler says the programme, which was originally introduced at Netcare Milpark Hospital, at first focused mainly on blood conservation to ensure minimal wastage. However, the hospitals in the group have also included a blood drive challenge to encourage the donation of much-needed, life-saving blood.

“With our country’s seriously constrained blood stock reserve, even one unit of blood wasted is too much. However, considering that less than 1% of South Africans are active blood donors,  it is just as critical to promote the importance of donating blood to ensure a sustainable blood stock reserve which ultimately saves many lives every day,” she says.

In addition to implementing strict guidelines whereby patients only receive blood when it is clinically indicated, Grobler explains that Netcare also makes use of ‘cell saver’ machines in its hospitals.  

“Essentially these intraoperative cell salvage machines are used to suction, wash, and filter a patient’s blood so it can be infused back into the patient's body, for example in the case of surgery. This means that patients can receive their own blood instead of donor blood.

“And because the blood is re-circulated, the amount of blood that can be given back to the patient is unlimited. It also serves as a viable alternative for patients with religious objections to receiving blood transfusions,” she points out.

For Grobler, the aim of the regular blood drives at Netcare hospitals is to encourage staff members, patients, visitors and other members of the public to donate blood and do their bit for their fellow man, while at the same time providing them with a safe and convenient venue to do so.

“Generally speaking, shortages in donor blood occur when regular donors skip or delay a donation, for example when they go away during holiday periods, and not when there is an increase in demand due to motor vehicle accidents as is generally perceived.

“Through our inter-hospital blood donation challenge, we hope to encourage people to become frequent, regular blood donors,” Grobler says.

As nearly every blood donation is separated into red blood cells, plasma and platelets, one pint of blood can potentially save up to three lives, which means Netcare’s 2017 blood donation drive could eventually touch up to 13 092 lives.

“Eight out of every ten people will need donated blood at some time in their lives, however very few give the SANBS a second thought until they or a loved one are the ones in need of blood. The reality is that donated blood is so precious that no amount of money can buy it. However, thanks to the benevolence, time and effort of regular donors, countless lives are saved daily,” stresses Grobler.

Accident victims, people who are severely anaemic, surgical patients, and women who have lost blood while giving birth are, among others, beneficiaries of donated blood.

The SANBS requires a stock level of five days to ensure it can meet demand, and aims to collect 3 000 units of blood per day to ensure a safe and sufficient blood supply in the healthcare system. “A unit of blood only lasts 42 days after donation and, for this reason, it is important for blood donors to donate regularly,” adds Grobler.

Criteria for a first-time donor to donate blood:

  • Must be between the ages of 16 and 65
  • Must have a body mass of at least 50kg
  • Must adhere to safe sexual practises
  • Must be free of diseases such as HIV, syphilis and hepatitis B and C.

People should eat a small snack within four hours before donating blood, as this can help minimise the chance of feeling faint or light-headed afterwards. Donors are only allowed to donate around 480 ml of blood at a time.

“The SANBS tests every unit of blood in order to ensure it is safe for transfusion. And if you are donating blood for the first time, your plasma is quarantined until your next donation. By your next donation, if all tests come back negative, then the quarantined plasma from your first donation will be used.

“The same applies to people who have not donated blood for a while. Only once you have made three donations and the tests are negative for diseases that can be transmitted through blood, then all the components of your blood can be used. This is to ensure the safety of the person receiving the blood and again highlights the importance of people committing to donate regularly,” Grobler emphasises.

By law a person may only donate blood every 56 days to allow enough time for their red cells to regenerate. Grobler therefore believes the only way shortages can successfully be overcome is to continue raising awareness and get more people to donate more frequently.  

“We urge everyone to get involved in this simple act of generosity, least of all because you never know when you might be the patient who requires an urgent blood transfusion,” she concludes.

To find out more about your closest blood donation centre go to https://sanbs.org.za/donor-centres/

 

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

 

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New West Rand oncology centre offers full range of cancer treatments

Comprehensive cancer treatment centre launched at Netcare Pinehaven Hospital

Friday, October 13 2017

A new oncology centre officially launched at Netcare Pinehaven Hospital last night, has been established with the aim of providing patients within the West Rand region with a comprehensive range of cancer treatments and the highest quality care in order to better serve the needs of patients based on the West Rand and surrounding areas.

Pic: At the launch of the Netcare Pinehaven Hospital oncology centre are (from left to right): Dr Jason Naicker, medical oncologist; Dr Tsholofelo Motsoane, radiation oncologist; Dr Yastira Ramdas, radiation oncologist; Dr Paul Paradza, radiation oncologist; Noeleen Philipson, Netcare director Cancer, Psychiatry and Rehabilitation Services; and Jacques du Plessis, managing director of Netcare’s hospital division.

“Netcare identified a need for a cancer treatment centre offering a complete oncology service within the West Rand, which is one of Gauteng’s fastest growing regions,” said Noeleen Phillipson, Netcare’s executive responsible for oncology, who spoke at the launch of the new state-of-the-art facility.

“We are consequently immensely proud of this new centre which will allow patients of the region to access truly holistic cancer treatment right here on their very doorstep. Ill patients will consequently no longer have to travel to centres such as Johannesburg to access such high levels of treatment and care,” she pointed out.

“It is estimated that as many as one in five South Africans have a lifetime risk of developing one form of cancer or another, and it is becoming increasingly critical that we are able to meet the requirement for diagnostic and treatment services locally. This is particularly important as all forms of cancers are best identified and treated at an early stage, as this results in the best possible outcomes in the great majority of patients.”

Phillipson says that Netcare is one of the fastest growing cancer care providers in South Africa and has always been committed to providing its patients with outstanding and all-inclusive cancer care services.

“This new centre has been specifically developed to enable Netcare Pinehaven Hospital to offer an integrated approach to care that includes chemo- and hormonal-therapies, and radiation treatment, surgery, or if required, a combination of these approaches.

“The services at this fine centre are provided through multidisciplinary teams including some of the country’s leading oncologists, surgeons and other highly trained healthcare professionals and support staff using the very latest in diagnostic and treatment technologies,” adds Phillipson.

“We recognise that each and every patient is unique and Netcare Pinehaven Hospital is now able to provide a highly personalised approach to treatment, care and support through this new facility.”

According to Phillipson, the centre is superbly equipped, the chemotherapy department having 10 treatment stations that serve patients during the working week. The radiation unit, meanwhile, has been equipped with a cutting edge Elekta Synergy linear accelerator, which is able to deliver highly targeted radiation therapies.

“An emphasis has been placed on ensuring that patients have support services, such as counselling and support groups, close to hand, as in most cases these form a critical aspect of the treatment and recovery process.”

Phillipson said that a special garden had also been developed outside the centre to enable patients access to an attractive and serene environment during their treatment sessions.

Pogiso Tlholoe, manager of the radiation unit at Netcare Pinehaven Hospital, notes that the Elekta Synergy linear accelerator enables a wide range of treatment options including external beam radiation therapy; intensity modulated therapy, volumetric arc therapy, as well as stereotactic radiosurgery.

“This means that clinicians are able to precisely tailor treatment to specifically meet the radiation treatment requirements of each particular case,” she explains.

“The Elekta Synergy is equipped with integrated imaging tools that assist oncologists to visualise and precisely target tumours with high doses of radiation while preserving healthy tissue. These also enable medical professionals to develop an optimal treatment approach prior to therapy, as well as to deliver the most targeted radiation treatment possible during the procedure itself,” she explains.

Marietha van Vuuren, general manager of the 100-bed Netcare Pinehaven Hospital, which was commissioned in 2015 and is situated close to Cradlestone Mall, says that there has been a growing demand for a cancer treatment centre that can offer patients a comprehensive oncology service under a single roof in the West Rand region.

“The centre substantially extends the hospital’s ability to meet the needs of our cancer patients locally and I believe that its launch is a cause for hope and celebration.

“I would like to extend my thanks to Netcare, the Netcare Oncology division, as well as the various doctors and staff members at the hospital who have made this much-needed new facility possible,” she concludes.

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Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Pinehaven 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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Hospital staff countrywide, raise awareness of thrombosis

Partnership with international healthcare society seeks to improve patient wellness

Friday, October 13 2017

Thrombosis, or blood clots as it is more commonly known, is one of the main causes of stroke and heart attack, which are leading causes of cardiovascular deaths globally.

This year, on World Thrombosis Day, which is commemorated on 13 October, staff members from Netcare hospitals across the country aim to educate patients and the general public on the causes, symptoms and possible ways of preventing thrombosis.

Thrombosis is a serious condition that can result in stroke, heart attack as well as venous thromboembolism or VTE, which is condition that includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE), which is when a clot blocks a major artery in a lung. These can all result in permanent disability and can also be fatal.

Dr Biancha Mentoor, clinical improvement lead at Netcare, says, “Many South Africans have heard of blood clotting, but few people know what VTE is and sadly a large number of individuals succumb to it. VTE also poses a great risk to patients before and after undergoing surgery and can impact their recovery.

“When deep vein thrombosis is left untreated and progresses, it can cause parts of the blood clot to break away and enter the lungs, which in turn causes a potentially lethal pulmonary embolism. Together, deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism are known as a venous thromboembolism,” Dr Mentoor explains.  

“It is tragic that close to a million people die worldwide as a result of VTE each year, especially considering the fact that it can often be prevented by doing a few basic exercises, making some small adjustments to your lifestyle or adding prophylactic non-pharmacological or pharmacological measures to the prevention regime,” notes Dr Anchen Laubscher, Netcare’s medical director, a firm supporter of the campaign.

“For this very reason Netcare has partnered with the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis in the United States and have embraced #keeplifemoving as the theme of this year’s Thrombosis Day activities at Netcare hospitals,” Dr Laubscher adds.

Dr Mentoor concludes by adding “Our activities on the day will include educating patients on the different types of leg exercises that can be done while in hospital to improve blood flow and reduce the risk of blood clots. This is an important component of the Netcare VTE prevention program.”

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

 

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Entries open for 5th annual Emergency Medical Services and Firefighter Challenge

Emergency services contest to be held to commemorate World Trauma Day

Friday, October 13 2017

Every year millions of South Africans seek medical care for trauma related incidents. World Trauma Day, which is observed on 17 October, focuses on creating greater public awareness of trauma in an effort to change behaviour and reduce trauma-related injury.

In commemoration of this year’s World Trauma Day, 21 October, we will again see emergency services personnel pitting themselves against each other at the annual Emergency Medical Services and Firefighter Challenge which takes place at the South African Emergency Care (SAEC) training school in Modderfontein.

For the fifth consecutive year, the Challenge organised by Netcare in collaboration with SAEC, provides emergency services personnel with the opportunity to put their skills and professional capabilities to the test in a series of challenging individual and team events. The competition is open to anyone volunteering or working in the field of emergency medical services, the South African Police Service or fire services.

Mande Toubkin, Netcare general manager emergency, trauma, transplant and corporate social investment, says that the event provides an opportunity to pay tribute to emergency services personnel who often put their own safety on the line in order to save lives.

“While World Trauma Day usually commemorates trauma patients and those who have lost their lives or require ongoing support due to trauma, this event is about giving back to the people managing trauma patients. And although undoubtedly challenging, it is meant to be a fun day to acknowledge the emergency personnel and all their hard work.

“We would like to encourage all of those who qualify to participate. Members of the public are also invited to attend to see the contestants being put through their paces, and enjoy what has become a memorable and educational annual family event.”

Netcare Milpark Hospital trauma programme manager, Rene Grobler, says the event provides the public with the opportunity to see the level of skills and teamwork required by emergency personnel to perform the critical work they do on a daily basis, often in dangerous situations.

“The Challenge has become an increasingly popular event. We always seek the broadest possible level of participation, and in previous years competitors have included teams of firefighters, paramedics from both public and private emergency medical services including Netcare 911, and medical staff from Netcare hospitals.

“While the competition is stiff there is always great camaraderie among the competitors, and it is a great way for Netcare and the public to say thank you for the incredible service these remarkable men and woman provide within our communities,” concludes Grobler.

Entry forms for the EMS and Firefighter Challenge can be obtained from Amanda Klette (amanda.klette@netcare.co.za) Rene Grobler (rene.grobler2@netcare.co.za) or Mariesa Human (mariesa.human@netcare.co.za) Completed forms can be emailed to Rene, Amanda or Mariesa, or handed in at the emergency departments of Netcare Milpark and Netcare Union hospitals.

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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The threats to health associated with obesity should not be underestimated

World Obesity Day should be used as opportunity to raise awareness of this global health scourge

Thursday, October 12 2017

Many South Africans today do not fully grasp the numerous health risks associated with being overweight and do not take this important aspect of their health and wellbeing as seriously as they should.

Pic "Professor Tess van der Merwe, Endocrinologist and chair of the South African Society for Surgery, Obesity and metabolism (SASSO) practises at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital and is considered to be one of South Africa’s foremost experts on obesity."

“Many people have the misconception that obesity is not a significant health issue, and one often hears statements such as ‘I may be overweight but I am healthy’. However, the health risks associated with being overweight are very real and should not be underestimated,” says endocrinologist, Professor Tess van der Merwe, chair of the South African Society for Surgery, Obesity and metabolism (SASSO) who practises at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital and is considered to be one of South Africa’s foremost experts on obesity.

“Those who have problems with their weight for one reason or another, should therefore give it the urgent attention it warrants,” adds Prof Van Der Merwe, speaking on World Obesity Day on 11 October 2017.

“This is particularly important as early intervention in addressing obesity and overweight in patients has been shown to produce the best medical outcomes in terms of preventing the development of the conditions that are so often associated with obesity such as type II diabetes, and metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure,” she emphasises.

“We see so many patients who do not recognise the health risks that are inherent to their condition and yet, upon reflection, admit that they have joint pain, their mobility is suffering severely, and they note that this is having a marked impact on their quality of life and even their mental health,” adds Prof Van Der Merwe.

“In addition, further investigation into the health of such patients frequently reveals that they suffer from one or more of the numerous medical disorders that are associated with obesity, a number of which are extremely debilitating and can potentially cripple one’s health.”

She says that in addition to type II diabetes and metabolic syndrome, conditions including coronary heart disease, and an increased risk of certain cancers are associated with obesity. “Many overweight patients are also surprised to learn after medical investigation that they suffer from potentially serious underlying medical conditions such as sleep apnoea, which is a sleep disorder, or osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that is sometimes called the “wear and tear” arthritis.”

Prof Van Der Merwe, who runs the only internationally accredited metabolic surgery centre in the country at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand, says that she emphasises this message not to alarm those who suffer from obesity but rather as an individual and collective call for them to take action to protect their health.

“There are many physiological and medical causes in every case of obesity and each person has a completely different constitution and metabolic makeup. Those who pass judgement on obese and overweight people are therefore displaying a complete lack of understanding of the complexities of this condition.

“At the same time, however, it must be emphasised that obesity represents a serious health issue both in South Africa and globally, and overweight South Africans should be encouraged to do everything in their power to get their health back on track.”

Prof Van Der Merwe says that it is not widely known that there are a number of highly effective accredited surgical options available to assist obese South Africans who are having trouble achieving and maintaining weight loss. Foremost among these are four types of metabolic surgery available at SASSO accredited centres.

“Many obese and overweight South Africans will know how difficult it is to achieve sustained weight loss through dieting and exercise alone. What is not often understood is that the metabolic surgery options available today offer the vast majority of obese individuals real hope of greatly improved health and quality of life.

“When undertaken at one of the multi-disciplinary SASSO accredited metabolic centres, these procedures offer the most effective means of tackling the condition,” adds Prof Van Der Merwe. “These treatments have a high degree of success in resolving health conditions such as type 2 diabetes that are associated with obesity.”

Dr Gert du Toit, a surgeon who runs the multidisciplinary SASSO accredited Durban Bariatric Surgery centre at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in association with his surgical partner, Dr Ivor Funnell, explains that the type of metabolic surgery selected will be based on the patient’s particular physiology and circumstances. All procedures are undertaken laparoscopically through small puncture holes in the abdomen.  

“In the great majority of cases, where patients are treated and properly supported before and after surgery by a multidisciplinary team including a psychologist and dietician, the metabolic surgery approach achieves outstanding results and is completely life changing for patients,” he affirms. “In addition, complication rates at accredited metabolic centres are low at 0.01%, thereby demonstrating the high level of expertise within the centres of excellence for metabolic medicine and surgery at Netcare hospitals.”

Testament to this is Charmaine Thamotharan, a 44-year-old nursing sister who manages the intensive care unit (ICU) at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital, one of the busiest units of its kind in KwaZulu-Natal. Weighing 113kg before metabolic surgical intervention, Sr Thamotharan says that she had reached a stage where she even struggled to climb a flight of stairs without becoming breathless, and found that her weight was impacting her ability to perform at work.

She also suffered leg and knee pain, polycystic ovary syndrome, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and was pre-diabetic, which are some of the conditions commonly associated with obesity, according to Dr Du Toit.

Encouraged by a colleague and the good results that were being achieved by Dr Du Toit’s team at the hospital, she decided to investigate whether metabolic surgery would be an appropriate option for her. After a thorough physical and psychological assessment, she finally underwent the surgery in August 2016.

“Since the surgery, my life has changed and I have never looked back,” she says. “I have lost 38kg, but more important than that, I have more energy and confidence than ever. I have regained my life and am now able to lead my ICU team with renewed vigour.”

Sr Thamotharan says she has been able to stop her medication for high blood pressure, asthma and other conditions, as all the medical conditions that she previously suffered from have been completely resolved.

“It’s remarkable, I am a 44-year-old who now feels like a 20-year-old!” she smiles. “Before the surgery I found I was exhausted after the most minor of activities; today I go to gym three times a week and have the energy to live life to the fullest.”

Sr Thamotharan says that the procedure itself was over within two hours. “I suffered no post-operative pain, and was back at work just two weeks after the operation. Not a day goes by that I don’t find myself feeling grateful that I underwent the surgery a year ago.”

“A high degree of disease resolution and very low complication rates are achieved at dedicated multi-disciplinary metabolic surgical centres accredited by SASSO. Performed at these facilities, metabolic surgery is a tried and proven option for those obese and overweight patients who qualify for it,” concludes Dr Du Toit.

Notes to editors: Centres of excellence for metabolic medicine and surgery
There are currently five centres of excellence for metabolic medicine and surgery at Netcare hospitals, offering patients access to specialised metabolic surgery, including gastric bypass procedures.

These centres of excellence are located at Netcare Sunward Park Hospital in Boksburg, Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban, Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth, Netcare N1 City Hospital in Cape Town, and Netcare Waterfall City Hospital in Midrand, Gauteng.  The centre at Netcare Waterfall City Hospital is the only internationally accredited centre for the treatment of metabolic conditions in South Africa, and is the principal centre for the four other locally accredited centres of excellence located at Netcare hospitals.

The dedicated multidisciplinary teams at these centres are comprised of surgeons, endocrinologists, psychiatrists, psychologists and dieticians, among others, in line with the protocols advocated by the South African Society for Surgery, Obesity and metabolism (SASSO), which is chaired by endocrinologist, Professor Tess van der Merwe. As director of the Centres of Excellence for Metabolic Medicine and Surgery of South Africa (CEMMS)(SA), Prof Van der Merwe oversees the work of the centres of excellence, including those based at Netcare hospitals.

The centres adhere to international practises to create a safe environment and to support obese patients with empathy and care. To comply with international standards, a database with statistics on each patient is maintained.     

Ends

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

 

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Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre officially opens its doors

Medicross day theatre to offer access to procedures across many medical disciplines

Tuesday, October 10 2017

The new Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre in Upington, which first opened its doors to the public on 17 July, was officially opened recently by Dr Billyy van der Merwe, managing director of Netcare’s Primary Care division.

Pic "In attendance at the official opening of The Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre in Upington were from left to right: Charel Hanekom (general manager, commercial of Netcare Primary Healthcare division), Dr Billyy van der Merwe (managing director, Netcare Primary Healthcare division), Dr Erhardt Kidson (ophthalmologist), David de Villiers, (financial director: Netcare Primary Healthcare division) , Rina de Vries (theatre operations manager, Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre) and  Louis Roth (general manager, coastal operations of Netcare Primary Healthcare division). Photograph supplied by Gemsbok, Upington"

Purpose designed to blend in with the Kalahari landscape, the new state-of-the-art facility is a collaborative effort between Upington based ophthalmologist, Dr Erhardt Kidson and Medicross, a provider of primary healthcare services and a fully-owned subsidiary of Netcare, a leading South African private healthcare group. The custom-built hospital with its modern, cutting-edge equipment is the 15th day theatre to be opened by Medicross in South Africa and forms part of Medicross’ expansion into the day theatre market.

During his opening address Dr Van der Merwe said that the multi-million Rand development represented a substantial investment and a strong vote of confidence by Medicross and Netcare in the potential of the region and the support of its people.

“This new cutting-edge facility is the result of years of careful planning and is home to one of the most advanced surgical ophthalmic microscopes in the southern hemisphere. The Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre has two theatres where a range of day surgery procedures are performed, and a dedicated ophthalmology theatre equipped with special ophthalmic operating chairs.

The 16 bed day ward also has special recliners to accommodate patients undergoing procedures requiring spinal blocks or conscious sedation. The facility also incorporates two fully equipped consulting rooms for visiting specialists,” Dr Van der Merwe explained.

“Medicross and Netcare are delighted to extend its footprint into the Northern Cape with a partner such as Dr Kidson who not only has tremendous vision, expertise and experience but is also an intrinsic and valued member of this community.

“We are confident that the Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre will deliver excellent standards of service through the outstanding calibre of the participating doctors and specialists and the advanced equipment on offer here at the facility.

“The establishment of such a facility is synergistically aligned to our vision for Netcare’s Primary Care Division which is focused on delivering patient care of the highest quality at the most appropriate level of care,” he added.  

During the first month of the day theatre’s operation, the communities of Upington and surrounding areas including Springbok, and as far afield as Windhoek and Keetmanshoop in Namibia, have already benefitted from a number of healthcare services, which up until now were not readily available in the region. Because of the advanced surgical ophthalmic microscope and the reputation of the specialists who operate at the facility, patients are being attracted from as far afield as Gauteng.

Serving as a day theatre facility where some of the region’s foremost doctors and a number of prominent visiting specialists will practise, Dr Van der Merwe believes that the Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre will do much to improve access to quality healthcare services for the people of the Northern Cape.


The interior of the new state-of-the-art Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre in Upington. The custom-built hospital with its modern, cutting-edge equipment is the 15th day theatre to be opened by Medicross in South Africa and forms part of Medicross’ expansion into the day theatre market. Photograph supplied by Gemsbok, Upington

 

“As with all Medicross day theatres, the Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre aims to provide patients with quality healthcare service that is both accessible and affordable.  There is a global trend towards more surgical procedures being undertaken in a day theatre environment, while still providing appropriate levels of care to patients.

“Advancements in various innovative surgical techniques and equipment mean that up to 70% of surgeries can be performed safely in a day theatre, resulting in not only a significant cost saving for the patient but also an enhanced patient experience.

“Research furthermore indicates that patients feel better physically and mentally if they are in a less clinical environment. Our day clinics therefore steer clear of the high-care clinical hospital approach and instead offer a warmer and more comforting environment.

“The specialists, 17 general practitioners and dentist who have committed to practise at this modern day clinic will, on the other hand, have the benefit of a highly reputable healthcare support system as well as an excellent infrastructure.

“Building sound relationships with medical practitioners and supporting them with infrastructure and administrative services are considered priorities by Medicross, while continuous professional development ensures that healthcare partners remain abreast of the latest clinical advancements,” adds Dr Van der Merwe.

A range of surgical procedures, from minor to some of the more advanced may be performed in day theatres, either under general or local anaesthetic, spinal blocks or conscious sedation, as appropriate. These include G & C scopes and certain dental, ear, nose and throat (ENT), general, gynaecological, maxillo-facial, ophthalmic, orthopaedic, plastic and reconstructive, and urological procedures.

With 267 theatre cases having been performed since its opening, Dr van der Merwe says it is evident that the long-term impact of the Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre could prove significant.

“Netcare’s Primary Care Division is proud to be associated with this outstanding facility. We look forward to seeing the benefit it brings to the local community and those in surrounding areas and hope to see it grow in years to come,” concluded Dr Van der Merwe.

Ends

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

 

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