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Cape Town - Elective paediatric surgeries, which are facing a six-month backlog at Red Cross Children’s Hospital, will receive priority in the next few weeks, after the provincial Health Department launched a weekend drive to reduce these life-changing surgeries.
The Saturday Surgeries project, launched on Wednesday, will give special attention to specialised procedures including ear, nose and throat operations, which are often overtaken by emergency surgeries.
The Day Surgery Unit, which is closed on weekends, will be opened on Saturdays for the duration of the seven-week initiative.
Running for the third time this year, the initiative is privately funded, and it is meant to drive elective surgeries without any negative impact on other patients requiring beds over weekends. Operations scheduled for this year include adenotonsillectomy (surgical removal of adenoids and tonsils), tympanoplasties (repairs to eardrum defects), hernias and excision of ingrown toenails.
Health MEC Theuns Botha described the project as an excellent example of public-private partnership, a “winning solution for all”.
“It is a demonstration of government and the private sector taking responsibility together, despite challenges. We are not walking away from the challenges, but making a plan to overcome the challenge, because the cause is greater,” he said.
The hospital’s medical manager, Dr Anita Parbhoo, said performing these “intricate, time-consuming operations” often resulted in many minor surgical conditions cancelled due to time constraints and pressure on available beds.
“The idea with this surgical waiting list initiative is that once a big volume of these relatively minor cases are taken off the waiting list, there would be scope for more flexibility for theatre lists during the week. More complex cases which are also a priority could then be given some additional time created by the reduction in the waiting lists,” she said.