The Royal Rehabilitation Hospital, Pietermaritzburg’s newest medical facility, has a waiting list of patients when it opens its doors on Monday [today].The hospital, the first phase of which has cost R120 million over two years to build, specialises in physical rehabilitation, with special interest in cardiac, neurology, orthopaedic, renal (dialysis), oncology and post-surgical recovery, with emphasis on social reintegration. There is also a new pharmacy that trades until 9 pm on weekdays, a valuable service for the CBD, and on Sunday. Built on the site of the old Royal Hotel in Burger Street, it comprises 52 beds, but the facility is geared up to grow to 102 beds. The company was formed by five health care professionals who service both the private and public health care sectors. Co-director Nirodh Sinanin told The Witness that they found that the average waiting period for a patient to obtain admission into a rehabilitation facility was six weeks, and the closest facility is roughly 80 km away. “Every day lost waiting for admission reduces the probability of a full recovery, hence the need for this facility was born,” said Sinanin.As such, the hospital was built with attention to detail in every aspect to promote healing, such as a reading area, a sun deck, a heated hydro-therapy pool with a hoist, easy lifts in and out of bed, group therapy and private therapy sessions.“We’ve integrated the theme of the initial hotel into a hi-tech medical facility that offers a unique healing experience, while still maintaining a warm clinical environment that assists the patient’s psyche,” said Sinanin.“We understand much of the healing is first a mental and social battle before the actual physical component is handled. We draw our inspiration from various international facilities, and adapted to cater for the unique blend of South African patients,” he said.About 100 people will be employed at the hospital, and additionally, the project has provided employment to roughly 250 persons. The hospital will service five private hospitals in Pietermaritzburg: Midlands Medical Centre, St Anne’s Netcare Hospital, Daymed Hospital, Hilton Life and the Pietermaritzburg Medi Clinic hospital.Over the past five years there has been major expansion and development at the private hospitals, resulting in increased patient admissions.“The number of patients requiring sub-acute rehabilitation is increasing, as well as their waiting period for such services,” he said.“With the strategic location, and dire need of a local sub-acute rehabilitation unit in Pietermaritzburg, as well as our current market analysis and exposure of the patient category to the serviced, we hope we can provide a centre of excellence and high level care that bridges the current gap from illness to independence,” he said.