30 years of life-saving emergency service to the community

First private 24-hour emergency department in South Africa celebrates milestone anniversary

Wednesday, March 13 2019

The emergency department at Netcare Garden City Hospital — the first private 24-hour emergency department to be established in South Africa and one of Johannesburg’s best-known emergency facilities — recently celebrated 30 years of service to the community.

“Netcare Garden City Hospital emergency department, which has been serving emergency patients from around the African continent since it first opened its doors in March 1989, has made an immense contribution to emergency and trauma medicine, and most notably within the field of paediatric emergency medicine,” pointed out Mande Toubkin, Netcare’s general manager: emergency, trauma, transplant and CSI, who spoke at a function to mark the occasion.

“Over the past 30 years the department has treated emergency and trauma patients from a number of major disasters, and have been there to assist many South Africans in their time of greatest need. Today we honour and pay tribute to the many men and women who have served the department and hospital with such dedication over the years,” noted Toubkin.

Pic: Pictured at the Netcare Garden City Hospital emergency department 30th anniversary event were: Faiyaz Buys, manager of the emergency department; Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of the Netcare Group; Mande Toubkin, general manager: emergency, trauma, transplant and CSI at Netcare; and Sr Lourinda Wolmarans, a nursing staff member at the hospital’s emergency department.

She noted that the facility, which is accredited as a level two trauma centre by the Trauma Society of South Africa (TSSA) and is also a paediatric trauma centre of excellence, provides quality care to approximately
21 000 emergency patients a year. “The trauma centre at Netcare Garden City Hospital is today a foremost private emergency care facility in South Africa, particularly in the treatment of paediatric emergencies and trauma, near drowning and medical cases.”

The anniversary celebration, which was rather fittingly held in the Netcare 911 helicopter emergency service (HEMS) hangar at Netcare Garden City Hospital, was attended by the Netcare Group’s chief executive officer, Dr Richard Friedland, and other representatives from Netcare, Netcare 911 and the hospital, as well as trauma doctors, current and former staff members, former patients and a number of key stakeholders from the emergency sector.

Tributes were paid to the dedicated staff who served the trauma centre over the last three decades, while Mande Toubkin and well-known trauma surgeon, Professor Ken Boffard who heads up the Level 1 trauma system at Netcare Milpark Hospital, were recognised with special lifetime achievement awards for their contributions to the development of the trauma sector in South Africa.

Also recognised for their contributions to the development of the Netcare Garden City emergency system were Dr Khalid Mirza, the trauma director at Netcare Garden City Hospital; paediatrician Dr Miles Bartlett; Dr Christian Piccolo, emergency medicine director for the hospital; and Dr Grant Futcher, who first opened the department with Dr Graeme Monteith. Faiyaz Buys, head of the emergency department at Netcare Garden City Hospital, gave an overview of the proud history of the facility.

Buys says that the Netcare Garden City Hospital has a 34-bed general adult critical care unit, which comprises a 14-bed general adult intensive care unit (ICU) and a 20-bed high care unit, as well as a nine-bed paediatric ICU and 14-bed neonatal ICU.

“The closed multi-disciplinary paediatric ICU at the hospital, which is run by paediatrician, Dr Miles Bartlett, is renowned for its treatment of paediatric emergencies. Buys explains that a closed paediatric ICU is where every medical professional who serves the unit has been specifically trained in paediatric critical care,” he added.

“Thanks to the outstanding care that Dr Bartlett and his team have provided to critically ill and injured children over the years, the facility has become a first port of call for emergency paediatric patients from across South Africa and the African continent.”

Martin Brown, a multi-award winning businessman and motivational speaker, who in 1997 was injured in a freak diving accident that irrevocably changed his life, shared his experience of the hospital at the event. Martin broke his neck in the accident becoming a quadriplegic, only able to move his head.

“I was a 26-year-old medical student who worked as a part-time student paramedic at the time of my accident, and had quite often assisted in bringing emergency patients to the emergency department at Netcare Garden City Hospital. I was consequently shocked that I myself became an emergency patient after my accident,” he related.

“I spent some three months in Netcare Garden City Hospital’s intensive care and high care units, and consider myself to have been most fortunate to have been treated there. I developed close relationships with many of the doctors and staff members during my time in hospital,” added Martin.

Martin says that during his hospitalisation, he had to come to terms with the fact that his life would never be the same again, but he resolved to see his experience not in terms of an ending but as a new beginning. He has since developed a global business designing and manufacturing custom-built, all-terrain powered wheelchairs, and is a well known and highly inspirational motivational speaker.

“I still stay in touch with many of the dedicated people who assisted in my treatment and rehabilitation, some of whom still practise at this excellent facility,” noted Martin.

Netcare’s South West regional director, Sandile Mbele, says that as one of the first trauma facilities in the country to be accredited by the TSSA to Level 2, Netcare Garden City Hospital has played an important role within the broad national and provincial emergency and trauma systems over the years.

“I recall Netcare Garden City Hospital making headlines during the 2010 public sector healthcare workers’ strike, when some 60 neonates, some weighing as little as 900g, were left stranded. They were saved by Netcare 911 paramedics and transferred to Netcare Garden City Hospital where a special Netcare emergency care centre was set up for these infants,” he added.

Among the well-known patients who had been cared for at Netcare Garden City Hospital is Pippi Kruger, the little girl who made medical history by becoming the first person in South Africa to have a cloned skin graft, after suffering terrible burns in 2011.

“For those adults and children who have required emergency medical care, South Africa’s first 24-hour private emergency department and Netcare Garden City Hospital have been a source of clinical excellence and quality care through the years, achieving impressive outcomes. We salute the many men and women who have served the hospital’s trauma system with such skill and dedication over the last three decades,” concluded Mbele.


Notes to editors

Netcare hospitals that are accredited by the Trauma Society of South Africa

Netcare Milpark Hospital – Level I
Netcare Union Hospital – Level I
Netcare Sunninghill Hospital – Level II
Netcare Garden City Hospital – Level II
Netcare Unitas Hospital – Level II
Netcare Linksfield Hospital – Level III
Netcare Olivedale Hospital – Level III
Netcare Waterfall City Hospital – Level III
Netcare Krugersdorp Hospital – Level III
Netcare Pinehaven Hospital – Level III
Netcare Pretoria East Hospital – Level III
Netcare Montana Hospital – Level III

Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital – Level II
Netcare uMhlanga Hospital – Level II
Netcare Netcare Alberlito – Level III
Netcare Kingsway Hospital – Level III
Netcare St Anne’s Hospital – Level III

Western Cape
Netcare Blaauwberg Hospital – Level III
Netcare Kuilsriver Hospital – Level III

To find out more about the services offered through Netcare hospitals and other of the Group’s facilities, please contact Netcare’s customer service centre either by email at [email protected] or phone 0860 NETCARE (0860 638 2273). Note that the centre operates Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:30.

For more information on this media release, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.

Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone:   (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]