Media releases

New Medicross Highway Sub-acute and Rehabilitation Hospital officially opens its doors

Purpose-built new facility raises the benchmark for step-down and rehabilitative care

Friday, May 26 2017

After seven years of careful research and planning,the brand new purpose-built Medicross Highway Sub-acute and Rehabilitation Hospital was officially opened in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) last night by Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare.

The new facility is a collaborative effort between the Link Hills Medical Centre and Medicross, a provider of primary healthcare services and a subsidiary of Netcare, a leading South African private healthcare group. The new custom-built hospital forms part of Medicross’ expansion into the provision of sub-acute and rehabilitative care.

According to Dr Richard Darby, director of the Medicross Highway Sub-acute and Rehabilitation Hospital, it is the first purpose-built facility in the KZN region combining sub-acute and rehabilitation services. “During the time that we were working on this project, the specification of rehabilitation hospitals changed and we believe that this is one of the few facilities that is based on the latest specifications. The hospital, which offers high-quality, individualised post-acute care for patients who are recovering from injuries or illness, is also perfectly aligned to the care coordination programmes of major medical schemes.”

The project was initiated by Dr Darby and his partners in the Link Hills Medical Centre, and developer Wayne Barr. “A licence for the building of a sub-acute and rehabilitation facility was obtained as far back as 2010. However, construction work on the 30-bed facility only commenced in 2016 when we found the perfect partner in Medicross and Netcare to help bring the long-anticipated project to fruition,” he adds.

Dr Richard Friedland stated that Netcare is delighted to be involved as the senior shareholder in this venture with partners who have such great vision and Netcare is very confident that the facility will deliver excellent standards of care through the outstanding calibre of the participating multi-disciplinary practitioners who enjoy an exemplary reputation and track record within the community.

“The establishment of such a facility is completely aligned to our vision for Netcare’s Primary Care Division which has, over the last year or two, moved away from managing health care risk and medical aid administration towards focussing solely on delivering patient care of the highest quality at the most appropriate level of care”.

“Medicross Highway Sub-acute and Rehabilitation Hospital has the capacity to care for 30 patients at a time and will provide 24-hour nursing care for individuals who are recovering from illness or surgery, including those who have had orthopaedic procedures such as hip or knee replacements, heart surgery and strokes or other neurological conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, as well as a range of chronic medical conditions.

The large, well-equipped rehabilitation gymnasium forms the central hub of Medicross Highway Sub-acute Rehabilitation Hospital, with two 10-bed wards arranged on either side.

The centre can accommodate 30 patients in spacious rooms and offer patients excellent nursing care and an individualised care plan supported by a multidisciplinary team of rehabilitation experts including doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dieticians, psychologists, biokineticists and social workers.

 

“Where required, our professional and experienced team will also provide wound care, renal dialysis treatment, pain management, occupational and speech therapy, as well as physiotherapy and palliative care,” Dr Friedland added.

The facility will provide patients with excellent nursing care and an individualised care plan that is supported by a multi-disciplinary team of rehabilitation experts including doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, dieticians, psychologists, biokineticists and social workers.

A large, well-equipped rehabilitation gymnasium forms the central hub of the facility with two wards arranged on either side. “The entire facility has been specifically designed with a homely feel in mind. Highway offers a warm and comforting environment as our research has indicated that people feel better if they are in a less clinical environment. We have therefore tried to steer away from the clinical, hospital approach,” explains Wayne Barr, a director of Medicross Highway Sub-acute and Rehabilitation Hospital.

“The Medicross Highway facility is conveniently situated near the city and in proximity to local acute care hospitals. General practitioners throughout KwaZulu-Natal can therefore refer patients, who have either been discharged from acute care hospitals or who are in need of nursing care and therapy in a sub-acute facility,” notes Dr Darby.

“Our expanding sub-acute and rehabilitation network is catering to the growing need for appropriate care for patients who may no longer need acute or specialised healthcare but who do require multidisciplinary restorative or rehabilitative care until they are well enough to return home,” concludes Dr Friedland.

Ends

Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Medicross
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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Allergic diseases on the rise in SA’s children

Severe allergic reaction can be life threatening

Thursday, May 18 2017

According to the Allergy Foundation of South Africa (AFSA), allergies, or allergic diseases as they are otherwise known, are on the increase globally from lower through to upper-income countries, and some 40% of allergy sufferers are children.

The Foundation says that no fewer than a third of all South Africans will develop some allergic disease such as asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), eczema, food allergy or a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) at some point during their lifetime.

Netcare’s medical director Dr Anchen Laubscher says allergies can not only have a negative impact on an affected child’s quality of life, but a severe allergic reaction can even be life threatening.

Take precautions
“Allergic conditions are among the most common of childhood chronic diseases. It is of critical importance for parents and childminders to be aware of what could elicit an allergic response as well as to the symptoms of allergies and, severe allergic reaction in particular, so that they can take the appropriate action to protect their children, should it ever become necessary,” warns Dr Laubscher.

“The severity of an allergic reaction can vary widely. The chronic, persistent effects generally range from mild and hardly noticed to significantly inconveniencing. In some cases, however, there can be a sudden and dramatic reaction such as severe skin inflammation, vomiting, swelling and respiratory compromise. Such a reaction may be an indication that the child is suffering a severe allergic reaction, or anaphylactic shock, which is considered a medical emergency.”

What is an allergy?
What exactly is an allergy? Dr Laubscher explains that an allergy is caused by the human body’s own immune system overreacting to a substance from the environment that is completely harmless to most other people. The immune system mistakenly responds to an otherwise harmless substance as if it were a serious threat.

“This triggers the release of chemicals such as histamine, which may result in a number of symptoms. The substances to which the immune system reacts are known as allergens, and some of the best known of these are peanuts, penicillin and bee sting toxin.”

She points out that children may develop allergies from exposure to substances such as certain foods, medicines, house dust mites, pollens, mould spores, animal danders, insect spore (i.e. from cockroaches), latex rubber, pet hair, cow’s milk, seafood, insect bites and stings, and many others. Allergic symptoms may affect the throat, nose, ears, eyes, airways, skin and digestive system.

The importance of managing allergies
“Among the problems with allergies in children is that we may not be aware that they have them and yet the symptoms may be causing the little one to suffer from malaise, and severely negatively impacting their quality of life. Your child’s concentration may be impaired by the allergy, for instance, and their school grades may suffer.”

“In addition, the fact that a child may not normally have a severe reaction to an allergen does not mean that they will not develop one at some future time. For this reason, it is important that possible allergies in children be medically investigated and if positively identified, closely managed with the assistance of a healthcare professional,” adds Dr Laubscher.

Anaphylactic shock
Head of clinical leadership at Netcare 911, David Stanton, says that anaphylactic shock is a severe whole-body allergic reaction to a substance to which the child or adult is allergic, and happens immediately after exposure to the allergen. “The child’s blood pressure may drop severely and their airways swell up and become blocked as their system attempts to process the allergen or the substance causing the reaction.”

Stanton says that the following may be signs that a child is suffering anaphylaxis:

  • Swelling at the throat or mouth that may constrict breathing
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing and choking or wheezing
  • Rapid pulse or irregular heartbeat
  • General or localised skin changes such as a rash or itching, pale skin, blue skin colour, skin redness, sweating
  • Pain in the abdomen and/or chest
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling faint/loss of consciousness
  • Severe headache

According to Stanton, the symptoms of anaphylactic shock usually appear within two hours after exposure to the allergen, although they may only be evident as much as four hours later. In some cases the allergic reaction can be almost immediate.

What should you do?
“Should your child suffer a severe allergic reaction, call an emergency medical services provider such as Netcare 911 [082 911] immediately. While it can be alarming to witness someone develop anaphylactic shock, particularly as they may swell up and suffer difficulties breathing, try to stay calm and remain on the line with emergency medical services provider call-operator who will be able to provide guidance to you while you are waiting for medical assistance.

“You should lie the child down and elevate their feet to assist in reducing the risk of shock. Avoid administering an antihistamine in a child younger than six months, or if they are struggling to breathe, as they may choke on the tablet.

Avoid contact
Mande Toubkin, Netcare’s general manager emergency, trauma, transplant and corporate social investment, says that although it is not always easy, the best way to prevent a child suffering a serious allergic reaction is to as far as possible make sure that they avoid having contact with their particular allergen or allergens.

“Children or adults who are allergic to bee or wasp stings, or tree nuts, for example, should strictly avoid all contact with these. Those who are allergic to foods such as peanuts or tree nuts can suffer a reaction from even trace amounts, so they must be sure to even avoid foods that have been prepared in close proximity to nuts,” she points out. Fortunately, food manufacturers will usually place a warning on packages if foods have been prepared with nuts.

“If your child is allergic to bee stings, you can take steps to try to ensure they don’t get stung. For instance, if they are playing in the grass, request that they wear shoes so that they can avoid stepping on a bee. Highly allergic children should also wear a medical bracelet and parents should carry an adrenalin auto-injector with them at all times as per the advice of a medical doctor. Antihistamine pills should also be kept close at hand, as they may be useful in the event of a less serious allergic reaction in an older child.”

Forewarned is forearmed
“In addition, if your child does have a serious allergy problem, inform their teachers and caregivers about it and explain what should be done in the event of a reaction. Forewarned is forearmed, and a few basic precautions can assist to keep your child safe,” she concludes.

Ends

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

 

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

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

Tuesday, May 16 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ends

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

 

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Unaudited interim results for the six months ended 31 March 2017

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

Monday, May 15 2017

Highlights  

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

Overview

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

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

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

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

Divisional review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Outlook

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ends

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

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

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

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

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

For more information visit www.netcare.co.za

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

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Ongeouditeerde tussentydse resultate vir die ses maande geëindig 31 Maart 2017

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

Monday, May 15 2017

Hoogtepunte

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

Oorsig

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

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

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

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

Oorsig van afdelings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Primêre Sorg

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

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

Verenigde Koninkryk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vooruitsig

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

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

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

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

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

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

Einde

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Project Save a Life empowers 1110 citizens with CPR basics

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

Friday, May 12 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Ends

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

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Excellence in care celebrated this International Nurses’ Day

Netcare salutes nurses and the ever-evolving science of nursing care

Thursday, May 11 2017

Nursing is a profession like no other. From nursing students learning the basics of clinical nursing care to those nurses pursuing highly specialised fields of healthcare, this is a vocation that requires dedication, resilience, acute attention to detail, and a life-long passion for learning.

Pic: Director of nursing and nursing education at Netcare, Shannon Nell, thanked nurses ahead of International Nurses Day which is celebrated on Friday 12 Mayfor their dedication to providing care and making a difference in people’s lives.

“This International Nurses’ Day, 12 May 2017, Netcare salutes the women and men who wear their uniforms with pride, as well as the students who aspire to take up this influential role in future,” says Shannon Nell, director of nursing and nursing education at Netcare.   

“Nurses fulfil a vital role in society, which extends beyond their working hours in a healthcare facility. When we see a nurse’s uniform, it speaks of knowledge in the service of care and a professional efficiency that is reassuring in times of illness or crisis.

“All of our nurses, from the highly experienced and specialised to those who are just starting out in the profession, have one distinction in common: each chose to apply their minds and their lives to the pursuit of excellence in caring for others,” she adds.

“Through studying and working in this demanding area of healthcare service delivery, these exceptional individuals know that ‘care’ is as much a science as it is an art. To all Netcare nurses, thank you all for the contribution you make each day for your patients, your respective teams, and for upholding Netcare’s unique approach to care.”

Sister Metse Maphula, who is studying towards a post-basic qualification in critical care at Netcare Education’s Gauteng South West campus in Auckland Park, Johannesburg, says that the knowledge and skills she and her classmates are attaining are equipping them to make a positive difference not only in the course of their official duties, but also at community level.

“Every day you get to help someone and make a positive difference in that person’s life. We can offer a lot of help to people in our community, our family members and, of course, our patients. This is what motivates us to persevere and love what we do each day. There are challenges that come with nursing, but we are able to face these because we are a team.”

Bridging course student, Kavitha Naidoo, who celebrates her birthday on International Nurses’ Day, says that she has found her practical work at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital extremely rewarding, particularly as it provides the opportunity to contribute towards patients’ recovery.

“I have seen patients come into the facility with injuries seriously affecting their mobility, who are able to walk out of the hospital unassisted when they leave. As a nurse, it is the greatest privilege to help patients reach a stage where they feel ‘I can do this again’, where they can get back into family life and return to work. Care extends beyond physical wellbeing, it also has psychosocial dimensions,” she says.

Nell notes that the theory and practice of nursing is constantly evolving, with new technologies and enhanced methods of care emerging all the time. “Choosing a career in nursing means embarking on a path of life-long learning. This is a challenging career, whether the individual decides to pursue a particular specialisation requiring additional years of study, or refining their skills through greater understanding of healthcare processes and people.

“We all have something new to learn each day. It is simply a question of recognising it and grabbing hold of the opportunities as they present themselves,” she observes.

“Nursing is not practiced in isolation; it involves a high degree of co-operation with other team members and doctors, as well as the ability to make informed critical decisions and meaningfully engage with patients and their families, often under stressful circumstances. This requires a delicate balance between professional distance and empathy, adherence to established protocols and intuition, and above all human understanding informed by medical facts. This wisdom cannot be achieved overnight – and if it could be, it would not be as highly valued as it rightly is,” Nell adds.

“My message to nurses this International Nurses Day is one of profound gratitude for the work they do in touching so many people’s lives, and encouragement for the years ahead in their profession. Thank you to each one of you for your hard work. Your professionalism, dedication, efficiency and commitment are incredibly appreciated.”

“The concept of care fundamentally involves looking after the wellbeing of others. At work and in their personal lives, nurses stand out as the people on whom the rest of society relies in their time of greatest need. To all our nurses, on behalf of Netcare, thank you for the professionalism and compassion you demonstrate in delivering the best possible care to our patients each day,” she concluded.


Ends

Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare and Netcare Education
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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Comprehensive and integrated digestive diseases and liver treatment centre a first for Gauteng

Specialist referral centre now available to patients from around the continent

Wednesday, May 10 2017

A digestive diseases and liver health centre offering a comprehensive multidisciplinary and holistic approach for the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of complex gastrointestinal, liver, gallbladder and pancreatic diseases was launched at Netcare Rosebank Hospital in Johannesburg recently.

“The Digestive Diseases and Liver Health Centre at the hospital brings together a range of medical disciplines as well as ancillary healthcare services to provide a highly patient centred service for referring physicians and their patients,” says Jacques du Plessis, managing director of the Netcare hospital division.

According to Du Plessis, the new centre, the development of which has been driven by hepatopancreaticobiliary surgeon, Dr Anna Sparaco in association with Netcare, is designed to provide patients with an all-inclusive multidisciplinary service for the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases by a team of highly trained and experienced specialists.

“The facility offers a holistic and integrated service to patients with digestive diseases, and the centre is a novel concept for private medicine within Gauteng province. We fully expect the Digestive Diseases and Liver Health Centre at Netcare Rosebank Hospital to serve as a specialist referral service for patients not only from the province but from around the country and indeed the African continent.”

Dr Sparaco says that the centre offers a number of sub-specialities including gastroenterology; hepatology, internal medicine, surgery and medical and radiation oncology. Advanced interventional endoscopic services including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, endoscopic ultrasound, Spy Glass, double balloon endoscopy and capsular endoscopy are also available.

“In addition to the standard open or laparoscopic surgical expertise, the ability to ablate tumours via various technologies such as radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation, selective internal radiation therapy [SIRT] and chemo-embolisation are part of the centre’s armamentarium in the fight against cancers,” observes Dr Sparaco.

“With a team of gastroenterologists, hepato-pancreato-biliary [HPB] specialists and general surgeons, interventional endoscopists, specialist physicians, interventional radiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, laboratory service professionals and dieticians, we have a comprehensive and highly patient centred approach for the full spectrum of gastrointestinal diseases, which include the liver and pancreas,” points out Dr Sparaco.

“At the Digestive Diseases and Liver Health Centre, we view each patient as an individual with unique needs and expectations. This understanding guides the team in developing an individualised and highly targeted treatment plan that takes into consideration each patient’s specific circumstances, lifestyle and personal goals,” says Dr Sparaco.

“In each case, the team works closely together to design personalised diagnostic and therapeutic plans for the patient. Cancer tumours, by way of example, can be diagnostically tested for molecular changes, and the most effective treatment plan for a particular patient is then developed by the various specialists based on the results. Emphasis is also placed on the early detection and management of disease to help ensure the best possible medical outcomes,” explains Dr Sparaco.

“We understand that undergoing treatment for chronic digestive diseases and cancers can be challenging to patients, both physically and emotionally. Therefore, we offer patients a range of additional specialised therapies and support services including counselling and nutrition guidance, coordinated by the centre, to assist patients and help reduce any stress they may experience.

“The centre is also working closely with organisations such as CANSA, to ensure that patients can easily access psychosocial support should they require it. Those who feel they would benefit can also access complementary therapies.”

The centre’s core medical team consists of gastroenterologists, Dr Mike Strimling and Dr Neo Seabi; HPB surgeons, Dr Moses Balabyeki and Dr Sparaco; gastrointestinal surgeon, Dr Alan Wolowitz; and oncologist, Dr Jason Naicker.

“These specialists are some of the most experienced and highly respected medical professionals within their respective fields in the country, and together they represent an incomparable team of digestive disease experts,” says Sara Nayager, general manager of Netcare Rosebank Hospital.

Nayager thanked Dr Sparaco for her efforts in developing the centre, as well as the various medical professionals practising at the hospital and internal departments whose collaborative effort helped to make the facility a reality.

“There has long been a great need for a comprehensive digestive diseases centre such as this based in Johannesburg. There is a similar centre based at UCT Private Academic Hospital in Cape Town, but few other such facilities anywhere on the African continent, and many of the support services now available at Netcare Rosebank Hospital are unique.

“It is most gratifying that the combined efforts of the medical professionals and the hospital have borne fruit in this way and we are now able to offer this service for the first time to patients both locally and from around the continent,” she concludes.

Ends

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

 

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International gold standard in cranial radiosurgery technology comes to Southern Africa

Cutting-edge “surgery without a scalpel” brings new hope to patients

Monday, May 8 2017

In a first for Southern Africa, the cutting edge radio-surgical technology, Leksell Gamma Knife Icon, used in the treatment of selected brain tumours, head and neck tumours, vascular malformations in the brain as well as functional disorders, has been installed at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg.

The new Gamma Knife Icon centre, which has been established at Netcare Milpark Hospital, is the first of its kind in Southern Africa, says neurosurgeon, Dr Maurizio Zorio, who practises at the hospital.

“The introduction of Gamma Knife Icon is a tremendously exciting advancement in medicine in our country, as this is the most precise radiosurgery device on the market internationally. The technology delivers powerful doses of precision-targeted radiation that acts as a surgeon’s ‘scalpel’. This greatly reduces many of the risks associated with traditional cranial surgery as it enables us to consistently limit radiation doses to healthy tissue,” explains Dr Zorio.

The Icon is the sixth generation of the Leksell Gamma Knife system, and introduces a number of new innovations, such as integrated imaging and software, and an advanced patient motion management system to continuously control dose delivery. The system was brought to South Africa by Gamma Knife South Africa.

“South African patients who could benefit from this highly advanced treatment will therefore no longer have to travel abroad in order to access the very latest in cranial radiosurgery. In addition to serving local patients, the new centre will also provide hope for patients from across the African continent and elsewhere in the world. We expect to provide treatment to some 400 patients a year,” he adds.

The Gamma Knife Icon is the only technology of its type with micro-radiosurgery capabilities, allowing for the treatment of virtually any target in the brain with ultra-high precision. The in-built image guidance and frameless features of the technology enables surgeons to treat patients who were not previously candidates for stereotactic radiosurgery therapy.

“What distinguishes the Gamma Knife Icon from other stereotactic radiosurgery devices is that it is better able to preserve healthy nerves and tissues while delivering highly concentrated radiation to the targeted area. In the brain this is particularly important because of the density of vital nerves contained in the brain structures,” Dr Zorio observes.

Another advantage of the Gamma Knife Icon is that there is usually no need for the patient to be admitted to hospital, as the Gamma Knife Icon treatments are performed as day procedures.

Oncologist Dr Samuel Fourie says that this treatment has a number of advantages, for certain patients and conditions, over traditional surgery.

“Frequently, a single treatment lasting up to 90 minutes can be as effective as open brain surgery, yet it incurs far fewer risks, as there is minimal chance of damage to healthy tissue around the treatment site and no need for the patient to undergo general anaesthetic.”

“Multiple treatment sessions over time can also be used for the treatment of larger tumour volumes, targets close to critical brain structures and new or recurring brain metastases.”

Dr Fourie says that this ‘surgery without a scalpel’ is also more comfortable for patients, as they cannot feel the radiation and are able to communicate with the specialist team during the procedure. “In addition, Gamma Knife Icon treatment does not require the comparatively lengthy recovery period associated with traditional cranial surgeries,” he observes.

Dr Zorio and Dr Fourie assert that the treatment is very much “a team effort”, being planned and executed by a highly specialised multidisciplinary team, including surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists, medical physicists and radiotherapists.

“The Gamma Knife Icon, which utilises both CT [computerised tomography] and MRI [magnetic resonance imaging] technologies, is indicated for a number of selected cases of neurological disorders including malignant and benign tumours or cancer metastases in the brain, spinal cord in the neck, or the membranes surrounding these.

“It can also be used for the treatment of acoustic neuromas, growths on the hearing and balance nerves near the inner ear, vascular malformations such as arteriovenous malformations [AVMs], and functional disorders including trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic condition that causes severe facial pain, and unresponsive medication tremor in Parkinson’s patients. The technology has been used to treat more than a million patients worldwide,” notes Dr Fourie.

According to Noeleen Phillipson, director of Netcare Oncology, the first local patients were treated at the new Gamma Knife Icon centre at Netcare Milpark Hospital towards the end of April under the guidance, or proctorship, of a team of renowned international experts.

“It is a sobering reality that we are seeing increasing numbers of cancer diagnoses, not only in South Africa but around the world. Medical and technological advances in cancer treatment, such as those offered by the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon, are cause for hope.

“By equipping medical specialists and caring healthcare professionals with cutting-edge technology and establishing centres of excellence for improved cancer treatments, the treatment interventions are becoming more effective all the time,” she concludes.

Ends

Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Milpark Hospital and Gamma Knife South Africa
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

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Spotlight this World Hand Hygiene Dayon tackling germs effectively and responsibly

Netcare facilities respond to global threat of antibiotic resistance

Wednesday, May 3 2017

Hand hygiene and vigilance against antibiotic resistance are two of the most important aspects of infection prevention and control in hospitals, and this is reflected in the theme of this year’s World Hand Hygiene Day: ‘Fight antibiotic resistance – it’s in your hands’, endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO). Netcare facilities across the country are participating in internal and public awareness campaigns to reinforce methods of preventing the spread of infections, and managing them appropriately. 

“Hand hygiene is an integral part of infection prevention and control, and at Netcare we place such importance on this that we have incorporated hand hygiene into the Netcare Way – a set of behaviours that are part of our corporate ethos and expected from all at the Group. The pledge ‘I always practise proper hand hygiene to show my care’ has been wholeheartedly adopted by management and staff members throughout our Group,” says Dr Dena van den Bergh, Director: Quality Systems and Innovation at Netcare.

An internal campaign aimed at encouraging staff to become hand hygiene role models was launched last year. The campaign involved management and staff members across all divisions pledging support for Netcare’s hand hygiene programme and a competition giving staff members the opportunity to share why they regard hand hygiene as important to them personally.

“Netcare has also long been actively involved in promoting the responsible use of antibiotics and mitigating infection risks associated with antibiotic resistance. Such measures are needed in order to prevent a situation where the antibiotics currently available to treat illnesses are rendered ineffective through misuse.”

 

Hand hygiene in the healthcare setting
Last year Netcare launched a mobile application to monitor the ‘five moments for hand hygiene’ in order to measure hospital staff members’ level of compliance. The WHO campaign highlights five crucial moments for hand disinfection: (1) before touching a patient, (2) before a clean/aseptic procedure, (3) after body fluid exposure or risk of exposure, (4) after touching a patient, and (5) after touching a patient’s surroundings.

“The mobile app has proved to be an excellent means of monitoring the extent to which our staff members practise hand hygiene in our hospitals, particularly as it automatically generates a data dashboard of hand hygiene compliance. This allows management to know, in real time, the level of compliance for their hospital overall, as well as for each ward and each category of staff. We are thus able to use this data to provide feedback to frontline staff, identify any potential areas of concern timeously and address these accordingly. Our hand hygiene mobile app keeps hand disinfection top of mind as a high-priority measurable.

“We are working hard to improve our record further through collaboration with international experts in this field, to ensure we follow best practice in hand disinfection techniques in our hospitals,” Dr Van den Bergh adds.

Netcare hospitals have pledged support for hand hygiene through signing up to participate in the WHO’s ‘Save Lives: Clean your Hands’ initiatives, another expression of Netcare’s commitment to patient safety and an opportunity to raise awareness about infection prevention and control among the wider public.

 

Antibiotic stewardship
“Over the last seven years, Netcare has implemented comprehensive and collaborative antibiotic stewardship programmes in each hospital, taking a multidisciplinary approach to combating inappropriate use of antibiotics,” says Angeliki Messina, Netcare’s project manager for antibiotic stewardship.

“Each Netcare hospital has a formal antibiotic stewardship committee in place, comprising doctors, nurses, infection prevention practitioners, microbiologists, pharmacists and management. The committees meet regularly to discuss ways of reducing the impact of antibiotic resistance and ensure that antibiotics are being used responsibly in the hospital setting.”

Multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria are germs that have developed resistance to at least three different antibiotics. These are particularly dangerous to individuals who have other underlying health problems or injuries, or are undergoing surgery, for example. Antibiotic stewardship ensures that the correct antibiotic is chosen and administered at the correct dose, duration and route of administration, ultimately to curtail the development of microbial resistance and decrease the spread of infections. 

“Measures to reduce the incidence of antibiotic resistance and improve hand hygiene go hand-in-hand towards securing better health outcomes for patients. Hand disinfection prevents the spread of bacteria, thereby reducing the chance of infection, while careful and judicious use of antibiotics ensures that bacteria do not become resistant to the medicines we have to fight infections,” explains Messina.

How can the public help to prevent antibiotic resistance?

  • Embrace a healthy lifestyle, through eating a balanced nutritious diet, getting enough exercise, and practising good hygiene. Through staying healthy, you can prevent many infectious bacterial illnesses and thereby avoid the need for antibiotics.
  • Clean your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap in your home, office, school, gym and other places.
  • If you do fall ill, do not demand antibiotics from your doctor. Antibiotics are generally not appropriate or effective for treating viral infections, such as flu or the common cold.
  • If it is medically necessary to take antibiotics, then take them exactly as prescribed by the doctor or pharmacist. Take them continuously as directed – do not skip any doses.
  • Do not ‘save’ antibiotics prescribed for one illness, to take them when you fall ill at a later date. Even if the illness seems the same, remember that many different infections may exhibit similar symptoms. This does not mean that the same antibiotic is appropriate for the treatment of illnesses with similar symptoms.
  • Do not share your prescribed antibiotics with others – this can lead to misuse and fuel the development of antibiotic resistance. Remember that antibiotics are powerful drugs and can have negative side effects.
  • Keep your vaccinations up to date.
  • Talk to your family and friends about the importance of only taking antibiotics when necessary and appropriate.
  • When visiting family or friends in hospital, ensure that you wash your hands appropriately with soap and water or available alcohol hand rub upon entering and exiting wards and the hospital.

“With greater general awareness of the importance of hand hygiene and the appropriate use of antibiotics, we can all contribute to a healthier future. While Netcare and its staff members continue to uphold these two priorities in our healthcare facilities, the general public have a meaningful role to play in keeping themselves healthy through hand cleansing and preserving the efficacy of antibiotics by using them responsibly,” Dr Van den Bergh concludes.

Ends

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

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