Burns unit to open at Dr George Mukhari

Monday, September 15, 2014

By Nosihle Shelembe

Pretoria – Residents living in the north of Pretoria will be able to make use of a specialised burns unit at the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, in GaRankuwa, by the end of the year.

The new unit is expected to be operational by the end of November, according to acting hospital CEO, Dr Freddy Kgongwana.

Speaking during an unannounced inspection by Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza on Monday, the acting CEO said the unit will specialise in treating patients with burn wounds and 40 nurses and 20 plastic surgery doctors have been appointed.

He said the unit, built by the Royal Bafokeng Holdings and the Gauteng Department of Health, will boast 32 beds, a theatre room and an Intensive Care Unit with three beds.

Kgongwana said he could not wait for the unit to offer its services to the public.

In addition to the burns unit, the hospital is renovating its nursing home which has 14 blocks housing between 18 and 24 people in each block.

Work has already begun on seven blocks at the nursing home and the first phase of the renovations is expected to be completed in December.

Kgongwana said the renovations were in line with the reclassification of the hospital as an academic hospital.

The acting CEO said this meant added benefits at the facility, such as the respect for healthcare professionals and  recruiting highly qualified nurses, while also retaining staff.

“We are competing with outside countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, so it’s very important as a retention and recruitment strategy,” he said.

Kgongwana said the hospital had to produce about 10 000 healthcare workers in the complex.

“We are conjoined with the [Limpopo] University as an academic complex, so that that speaks to our plans to produce adequate numbers of healthcare professionals, especially nurses who are the core in terms of functions so that is very exciting for us,” he said.

The 40-year-old hospital cares for 1 652 patients on its beds each day and provides all three levels of care as there is no primary or secondary facility in the district. It is the country’s second largest hospital after Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg.

The MEC said she was encouraged by the work that was being done at the hospital, and the maintenance of the infrastructure.

“I am happy that most of the weaknesses that have been identified are being addressed,” she said.

During her presentation, MEC Mayathula-Khoza said the challenges that were facing the hospital included old equipment which sometimes broke down, low staff morale because of late payments of overtime and some of the lifts were not working.

“There are plans in place to either renovate or replace [the equipment]. I am encouraged by the performance but I would like the officials who are working here to speed up service delivery and meet the targets they have set for themselves,” the MEC said. –SAnews.gov.za