On Monday 8 October 2018, another four patients will benefit from collaborative surgeries between Mediclinic and Groote Schuur Hospital. This is part of an ongoing partnership aimed at relieving public waiting lists for key procedures. During 2017 more than 100 public patients underwent life changing surgeries at various Mediclinic hospitals, with at least a further 100 planned for this year.

As part of Mediclinic Cape Gate’s contribution to relieving the surgery backlog, they will be assisting with four life-changing urology procedures, which will be undertaken on a pro-bono basis by respected urologist Dr Johan Stander alongside anaesthetist Dr Stoltz Marais. The surgery is commonly known as TURP or Transurethral Resection of the Prostate and is focused on removing a section of the prostate where this has become enlarged and is placing pressure on the bladder and urethra. Mediclinic Cape Gate will also be assisting with cataract surgeries later in the year as part of this on-going relationship.

To date, the collaborative surgeries have been successful in fostering stronger relationships between the private sector and various provincial departments of health, exploring workable solutions in the move towards a more accessible healthcare system for the country. “We have had a tremendous response from our public sector partners,” says Bob Govender, Industry Affairs Executive for Mediclinic Southern Africa. “A number of provinces are on board and we are actively investigating how the additional capacity we have available can support the care they are already delivering to their patients. It is important that we are producing effective outcomes in areas where they have the greatest demand.”

Patients are identified by the partnering public health facility, in this case Groote Schuur Hospital, from their respective waiting lists and the patients are then examined and are operated on in the local Mediclinic hospital by the attending private sector doctor. Through this process, Mediclinic can actively contribute towards relieving the backlog for procedures such as the TURP, ENT or cataract surgeries being experienced in that region.

Dr Bhavna Patel, CEO of Groote Schuur Hospital explains some of the background around the need for these surgeries. “With an increasing acute load within our hospitals due to trauma, catering for elective surgeries has in recent years become a growing challenge. Trauma cases demand prioritisation, thus pushing back elective surgery. Also within the context of diminishing resources, this is a welcome chance to catch up on some of the elective surgery and improve the quality of life of our patients.”

Carol Defty, Hospital General Manager at Mediclinic Cape Gate, believes that the community can only benefit from these collaborations, “As a hospital, our nurses and associated doctors are keen to get involved. Each patient we are able to assist touches a wider family circle in return. Patients can recover quickly, possibly returning to work or being able to perform tasks that were previously a challenge. All this because parties were able to interact and find opportunities to assist each other.”

These four surgeries will take the tally to over 30 urology procedures already performed as part of the Public Private initiative. While not all patients undergoing prostate surgery have cancer, the importance of proactive self-checks and consultation with medical practitioners ensures a possible early diagnosis and treatment to avoid the disease progressing. Prostate cancer is currently a top 5 cancer amongst men in Southern Africa, and Dr Stander encourages men over 50 to go for routine screening with their GP, even if they do not have symptoms present.