New hospital is first step in establishing a comprehensive, first of its kind medical precinct in South Africa

The opening of the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital

Thursday, November 24 2016

The opening of the new flagship Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial 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 South Africa, offering a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary medical, emergency, diagnostic and rehabilitative services.  

For over three decades, Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital has provided outstanding service to the people of Cape Town and surrounding areas, as well as patients from other African countries, with distinction.

In July 2007, Netcare initiated a feasibility study to determine whether the oldest private hospital in Cape Town, with its impressive history of medical firsts and distinguished legacy including some 200 heart transplants, should be renovated or relocated. However, it became clear that renovating the old hospital would present considerable challenges.

The building housing the hospital was originally built in 1969 as a commercial building and parking garage, before it was converted and opened as City Park Hospital in 1983. The study indicated that renovating the 17-storey structure while running the hospital efficiently would have posed many logistical difficulties, as well as considerable inconvenience for patients, doctors, visitors and staff members.

“A comprehensive building audit revealed that the cost of renovation would be 95% of the projected cost of developing a new, purpose-built hospital. And so, by November 2009, a decision was taken to locate the hospital, and the search started for the location that would become the home of the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital,” remembers Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare.

“In true Netcare style, selecting a new site was an inclusive process, involving extensive market research and consultation with patients, doctors and staff members. After evaluating 32 different sites, the final choice of location was the geographically desirable foreshore. The ideal site was eventually identified as the corner of Rue Bartholemeu Dias Plain and DF Malan Street, then a dusty and unused parking lot.

“Building in the central business district of Cape Town presented challenges of its own but, fortunately, the design principles underpinning the construction of the new building were centred around flexibility and enabling growth. This meant that the hospital would not only be designed to readily accommodate expansion over time, but that its infrastructure would be able to accommodate state-of-the-art technology, such as robotic theatre equipment,” adds Friedland.

Construction so near to the waterfront and harbour required the services of specialist consultants; aviation consultants assisted with the incorporation of a helistop on the roof of the facility, while marine consultants had to find solutions for the problem of the new hospital obscuring the Cape Town harbour navigation leading lights from ships at sea. This necessitated a new light tower to be erected in the harbour, and the height of the port navigation light on the municipal building to be increased.

Construction of the new hospital building began in June 2013, the commissioning of the hospital commenced in July 2016 and was concluded in November 2016.

“At opening on Monday, 5 December 2016, the 16-storey building, which has a total floor space of approximately 30 000m2, will comprise 248 beds, of which of 61 will be intensive care and high care beds. There are 11 theatres, two cardiac catheterisation laboratories, medical, surgical and paediatric wards, a maternity unit incorporating delivery rooms, a dedicated caesarean theatre and neonatal ICU, as well as doctors’ consulting rooms and eight floors offering public parking,” says Friedland.

In addition to incorporating sophisticated green principles and technology in the design of the hospital, other key elements revolved around optimising patient safety.

“The building has been designed to international safety standards, for example in terms of fire safety specifications and the ability to withstand earthquakes. With the worldwide increase in antibiotic resistance, we have also placed considerable emphasis on infection prevention and control, which is evidenced in the inclusion of design elements such as glass partitioning between beds to help prevent the spread of infections.

The hospital will accommodate a full spectrum of medical disciplines including cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, orthopaedics, gastroenterology, gynaecology and obstetrics, internal medicine, reproductive medicine, paediatrics, nuclear medicine, radiology and interventional radiology, urology and robotic-assisted surgery for prostate, kidney and bladder cancer.


Future expansions
He added that pockets of areas totalling 5 000m2 have been specifically designed on a number of floors within the hospital for future expansion of beds and other services, and that the building has the capacity to accommodate up to 375 beds in future.

“Provision has also been made for the construction of a radiation therapy bunker in the basement with state-of-the-art equipment to provide the latest radiation oncology treatment to cancer patients. This new facility will form part of the next phase of development,” Friedland explains.

The adjacent building, once occupied by Chevron, will be converted into a medical facility and incorporated into the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. It will house a day clinic, a sub-acute facility, a dialysis centre managed by National Renal Care, pathology laboratories, a Medicross family medical and dental centre, and facilities for physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other healthcare practitioners.

Investing in the City of Cape Town
The new hospital facility represents a considerable investment by Netcare in the City of Cape Town and it is envisaged that the scope of the new development will lead to the creation of a number of new job opportunities. The hospital is one of a number of new developments planned for the foreshore over the next five to 10 years, which is set to completely revitalise the area and stimulate the same dynamic character of the rest of the inner city.

“It was Netcare’s vision to develop a world class healthcare facility that reflects the excellence, innovation and sanctity of life that is synonymous with the legacy of the hospital’s namesake, Professor Christiaan Barnard. It is our belief that the medical endeavours and pioneering spirit for which he is remembered will be carried forward at the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital,” Friedland concludes.

Fast facts




Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]