Netcare’s new flagship hospital on the Foreshore in Cape Town is the first phase of a development that will culminate in the establishment of a world class medical precinct and centre of excellence, says Netcare.

The new home of Netcare’s Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital, the first of its kind in South Africa, will offer a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary medical, emergency, diagnostic and rehabilitative services.

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.

Netcare’s CEO, Dr Richard Friedland, says a comprehensive building audit revealed that the cost of renovation would be 95% of the projected cost of developing a new, purpose-built hospital.

“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,” said Dr Friedland.

“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,” continued Dr Friedland.

The 16-storey building 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.

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

“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,” said Dr Friedland.

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.

A number of floors within the hospital have been designed for future expansion of beds and other services, and the building will have capacity to accommodate up to 375 beds.

“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,” said Dr Friedland.

The adjacent building will be converted into a medical facility and incorporated into the new 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.

“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,” concluded Dr Friedland.

The construction of the new hospital building began in June 2013, and will open on 5 December 2016.

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