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Red Cross opens R125m complex

Resource type: News (South Africa) | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]

Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital is an Atlantic grantee.

Cape Town – Cape Town’s Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, the only stand alone, specialist hospital in southern Africa dedicated entirely to children, officially opened its new R125m Operating Theatre Complex on Wednesday.

The new state-of-the-art facility includes eight fully equipped operating theatres; three fully digitalised.

For the first time, since the hospital was built in 1956, each operating theatre is designated to a sub-speciality: Emergency & Septic Orthopaedics, Burns, Neurosurgery & Spinal Orthopaedics (digitalised), General Endoscopic (digitalised), Urology & Plastics (digitalised), Cardiac, Ophthalmology (Eye) and an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) & Scopes Theatre.

“The new 4600m² facility is a significant development in the history of the Hospital and the biggest upgrade to date,” Dr Dimitri Erasmus, CEO of The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, said on Wednesday.

“The refurbished and expanded complex has increased from four to eight new theatres and is set to advance the hospital and keep it abreast of modern surgical techniques and technology,” he added.

‘Greater efficiency and improved care’

According to Erasmus the wear and tear on valuable equipment will be drastically reduced as the new equipment is dedicated to each new theatre and no longer needs to be moved between the various theatres.

“This will result in greater efficiency and improved patient outcomes for the more than 700 patients undergoing surgery every month.”

It will also improve the working environment for the staff significantly, which in turn will help attract and retain high quality surgeons and staff, Erasmus explained.

Prof Alastair Millar, Charles FM Saint Professor of Paediatric Surgery at the hospital, said on Wednesday that surgeons were now positioned at the forefront of new developments in the surgery of children, particularly with respect to minimally invasive or “keyhole” surgery.

“The superb audio visual equipment installed in three of the new theatres will mean that we can share what we do with our colleagues in South Africa, Africa and around the world.

“We are able to both teach and learn so that we can improve care for children requiring surgery,” Millar explained.

‘Mammoth fundraising effort’

The R125m needed to build and equip the modern facility was raised by the Children’s Hospital Trust, the fundraising arm of the hospital.

According to Nicky Bishop, the trust’s Chief Executive it has been a “mammoth collective fundraising effort”.

“Hundred percent of the funds raised went towards the project. Not a single cent was spent on administration.”

The trust’s ambitious fundraising campaign kicked off in 2005 with a R4m pledge from an international philanthropic organisation, The Elma Foundation.

This pledge was to be used to leverage matched funding and helped to secure funding from key donors including Raymond Ackerman, Adcock Ingram Holdings Ltd, Engen Petroleum, The Harry Crossley Foundation, The Atlantic Philanthropies, Dutch Postcode Lotteries, the Walton Leycester Family Trust, Knorr-Bremse Global Care, Netcare and Edcon.

‘Remarkable legacy for children’

In August 2006 the trust launched O.P.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. Theatre, a high profile fundraising campaign that encouraged the SA public to help raise the final R10m needed to start building Phase One of the project.

The target was reached and building commenced in March 2007.

Of the total building cost of R70m, the Provincial Government of the Western Cape contributed R8.5m towards building a new Central Processing Department (CPD) – a critical component as surgical instruments are sterilised, pre-packed and stored in this facility.

The price tag for equipment including capital equipment, digital, fine instruments and CDP equipment totalled R55m.

“The success of the trust rests entirely on the generosity of its donors. We sincerely thank the many, many generous supporters whose goodwill has ensured the completion of this remarkable legacy for children,” Bishop concluded.

– News24

Photo: A new operating theatre inside the Operating Theatre Complex.

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