Hospitals suspend elective surgery and non-urgent admissions to create capacity for expected surge in COVID-19 patients

Imperative that public and private healthcare providers join hands in responding to the pandemic

Monday, June 22 2020

Netcare Greenacres Hospital in Port Elizabeth and Netcare Cuyler Hospital in Uitenhage announced today that they will suspend elective surgery and non-urgent medical admissions until further notice, except in cases where this could negatively impact the clinical outcome of patients.

Andre Bothma, area general manager Eastern Cape of Netcare’s hospital division, says the decision was taken after the Eastern Cape Department of Health (EC DoH) announced during a briefing session on Friday, 19 June 2020 that the number of COVID-19 positive persons in the province has doubled over the past 10 days.

“In anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 persons requiring hospital care, we have taken the decision to suspend admissions for elective surgery at both Netcare Greenacres and Netcare Cuyler Hospitals in order to free up ICU and high care beds which would otherwise have been used for patients after their elective surgery,” Bothma says.

“All surgical cases that have been scheduled for the coming week will be reassessed in conjunction with the treating specialists to determine which surgeries can be safely postponed, based on clinical considerations, capacity considerations and patient consent.

“We will continue to provide medical care for patients with life-threatening injuries or conditions. The priority of emergency surgical cases proceeding will also be determined using the same criteria, in order to effectively manage our ICU and high care beds. The situation will be monitored closely,” he explains.

“We would like to reassure our community that comprehensive COVID-19 precautionary measures are in place at these hospitals to care for all patients according to their COVID-19 status and the severity of their condition and to optimise protection for those working at our facilities.

“Staff members, doctors and all other persons working at the hospital, as well as all individuals wanting to enter the hospital for doctor consultations or radiological investigations or for visiting patients where special permission has been granted to them, are being risk-assessed and screened daily, including temperature monitoring, for COVID-19 before being allowed into the hospitals.

 “We would like to appeal to the public to play their part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the responsibility of each and every South African to maintain safe practices to minimise the risk of the virus spreading.

“Regular washing of hands with soap and water or cleaning them with an alcohol based spray or gel; keeping a distance of at least a metre from others; wearing a mask in the correct way when in public areas or in the company of others; refraining from visiting or being visited by family and friends; and disinfecting any surfaces being touched regularly; remain the most important in preventing the spread of COVID-19. These are actions every person can take for their own protection and that of others, especially those who are vulnerable,” Bothma urges.

“We are mindful of the impact our decision may have on our patients, the communities we serve and the doctors practising at our hospitals. However, we trust that they will understand that it is imperative that healthcare providers in both the public or private sectors join hands in providing care to persons in need. We thank our patients, doctors and our communities for their support during these unprecedented and difficult times. Elective surgery and admissions will be resumed at Netcare Greenacres and Netcare Cuyler hospitals as soon as it is safe to practically do so,” Bothma concludes.


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