Pushing the limits for better stroke outcomes

Monday, May 8 2023

Stroke is a leading cause of disability and mortality, in South Africa and internationally, yet the chances of recovery can be greatly improved when a person having a stroke is treated at the right facility within a limited window of opportunity. Several Netcare hospitals were recently recognised in the World Stroke Organisation awards, affirming the highest standards among stroke-ready facilities.

“Systems aligned with international best practice in treating stroke emergencies support better outcomes, and this informs our evidence-based approach to stroke care within the Netcare Group,” says Mande Toubkin, general manager emergency, trauma, transplant and corporate social investment.

Netcare has been building the systems and expertise to strengthen stroke care in South Africa, both through strengthening pre-hospital care for stroke emergencies through Netcare 911 and the multidisciplinary treatment provided in hospitals.

Netcare Alberton and Netcare Milpark hospitals were internationally recognised recently with diamond awards for excellence in stroke care in the Q1 2023 World Stroke Organisation’s Angel Awards. Netcare Sunninghill, Netcare Unitas and Netcare Pinehaven hospitals were honoured with gold awards. To qualify, hospitals must be registered with and submit data to the RES-Q quality of stroke care registry, an initiative of the European Stroke Organisation Enhancing and Accelerating Stroke Treatment (ESO East).

“Emergency medical services including Netcare 911 can rely on the RES-Q endorsement of quality stroke care provided at local hospitals in line with world-class standards to determine which hospital is the most suited to providing the emergency treatment needed to limit the extent of the neurological damage and offer the best possible chance of survival and optimal recovery,” Toubkin explains.

“To achieve the best possible outcomes when a person is having a stroke, awareness is needed among the South African public and healthcare community alike,” says Zasskia Wiese, Netcare’s stroke programme manager.

“One of the most crucial principles in stroke care is getting the right patient, to the right facility at the right time. Stroke is a medical emergency, and the person needs to be transported to a stroke-ready facility in the shortest possible timeframe for appropriate treatment,” she says.

Through monitoring and evaluation of set criteria to measure quality of care in line with international best practice, this global registry benchmarks stroke care facilities around the world and assists participating healthcare systems to continuously improve stroke outcomes for patients.

Eighteen Netcare hospitals around the country, including those that received awards, have been certified as stroke-ready facilities, fulfilling the requirements of the RES-Q set of measures as stroke-ready units. These facilities have been validated as equipped to provide the full spectrum of diagnostic and interventional services for the identification and treatment of stroke 24 hours a day according to the strict protocols required by ESO East.

The Group’s stroke-ready hospitals in Gauteng include Netcare Pretoria East, Netcare Akasia, Netcare Linksfield, Netcare Krugersdorp, Netcare Montana, Netcare Olivedale and Netcare Waterfall City Hospitals.

In KwaZulu-Natal, Netcare uMhlanga, Netcare Kingsway, Netcare Margate and Netcare The Bay hospitals are also equipped for any stroke emergency, as is Netcare Greenacres Hospital in the Eastern Cape.  Netcare Kuilsriver, Netcare Blaauwberg, Netcare N1 City and Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospitals in the Western Cape have also achieved stroke-ready status.  

“We have always worked closely with Netcare 911 on stroke care, both for pre-hospital management of incoming patients and interhospital transfers of patients to stroke-ready facilities. Recently, Netcare 911 registered with and has begun submitting data to RES-Q to further strengthen stroke management and provide assurance of data-driven best practice in caring for patients before they reach the hospital, as this is so important to the outcomes and extent of a patient’s recovery from a stroke.”

Wiese points out that in many cases, a person’s physical rehabilitation after being discharged from hospital is also a major factor in regaining functionality after stroke. Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital offers specialised neurological rehabilitation, with physiotherapy, occupational and speech therapy, as part of Netcare’s stroke programme.

“Through this collective Group approach to treating one of the leading causes of death and disability, Netcare is contributing to raising South African healthcare standards in stroke care continuously on all fronts, and we will continue to push the limits of what can be achieved for life after stroke,” Toubkin concludes.


Notes to editor
Looking for a medical appointment? Netcare appointmed™ will make appointments for YOU with specialists practising at Netcare hospitals, GPs and dentists at Netcare Medicross medical and dental centres, and specialists at Netcare Akeso mental health facilities. Simply request an appointment online at or phone Netcare appointmed™  on 0860 555 565, Mondays to Fridays between 08:00 and 17:00.

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