Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare today said that the country was facing an extremely concerning new surge in infections of COVID-19 that is forcing Netcare to constantly review and evaluate all it is doing to combat the impact of COVID-19.
“Our interventions are, at all times, aimed at doing the very best we can for all patients seeking care at any of our healthcare facilities, while ensuring the safety of our frontline staff, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers,” said Dr Friedland.
He added that the recent surge of cases particularly in the Eastern Cape (EC), Limpopo, Western Cape (WC) and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has placed a significant and unprecedented demand on Netcare’s healthcare facilities.
“We expect this demand to continue in Limpopo and the Western Cape for at least the next two weeks, but unfortunately to increase in KZN over the same period. Fortunately, we have seen a reduction in cases in the Eastern Cape. We however remain extremely concerned about Gauteng, which is already beginning to surge, and we are expecting a dramatic increase in cases as holiday makers return to the province in early January,” he noted.
According to Dr Friedland, in the EC, Limpopo, WC and KZN provinces the number of patients admitted to hospital far exceeds that which was experienced in the first wave of the pandemic. He said that Netcare has had to substantially increase its oxygen capacity at all hospitals and has urgently recalled all frontline staff from leave. The company is deploying additional doctors, nurses, paramedics and healthcare worker teams to areas of need.
“We have also ensured that we have adequate supplies of the appropriate drugs and consumables, as well as personal protective equipment to last us throughout this second wave. We have implemented strict infection prevention and control policies and principles. We demand fastidious adherence to these standard operating procedures, which are at all times aligned to the guidelines and protocols issued by the World Health organization [WHO] and the National Department of Health [NDoH].”
“While we will always endeavour to provide care to patients arriving at our facilities, the increased demand will require us to make decisions regarding access to certain treatment modalities. All of these decisions will be based on recognised international guidelines of triage [allocation of treatment based on priority] and transition of care,” assured Dr Friedland.
He noted that clinical, nursing and management teams will provide the best care available to all patients, but may not, in circumstances where the demand exceeds or overwhelms the capacity, be able to provide all treatment options that would be available in normal, non- pandemic, circumstances.
“Practically, this may mean that levels of care such as ICU and High Care, ventilators or certain oxygen delivery modalities may not be available to all patients. Where possible, we will seek to transfer patients, once stabilised, to one of our other hospitals, should they have capacity. Our clinicians will make all of these decisions based on the availability of resources and their best clinical judgement. We fully support them in this difficult task and complex decision-making process.
“During these uncertain and difficult times, we appreciate the public’s patience and understanding, and I want to assure you that we are working as hard as humanly possible on the frontline to provide the best and safest care we can to our patients during this challenging time,” concluded Dr Friedland.
Issued by: MNA on behalf of Netcare
Contact: Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Estene Lotriet-Vorster
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