Groote Schuur Hospital needs R15m to get through backlog of 1 500 essential surgeries

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Charity organisation Gift of the Givers has given the hospital R5million for the catch up of surgeries.
Charity organisation Gift of the Givers has given the hospital R5million for the catch up of surgeries.
  • Groote Schuur Hospital needs R15 million to clear a backlog of 1 500 essential surgeries.
  • The hospital has 6 000 patients who are still awaiting surgery.
  • Gift of the Givers has given the hospital R5 million for catch-up surgeries.

Cape Town's Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) needs R15 million to clear a backlog of 1 500 essential surgeries that built up due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The hospital said 6 000 people were still waiting to undergo surgery and that thousands of operations were lost over the last two years due to the devastating impact of the pandemic.

"This massive loss of operating time and capacity at most hospitals (not just GSH) across the country is due to much-needed reallocation of healthcare workers to tend to patients severely ill with Covid-19," said GSH spokesperson Alaric Jacobs.   

A fundraising campaign was held for the Surgical Recovery Project, which was launched at the hospital on Tuesday.

"The Covid pandemic has taught us that healthcare recovery post-Covid is not just a government responsibility – but also a societal responsibility," said the hospital's CEO, Dr Bhavna Patel.

PICS | Groote Schuur hospital launches state of the art diabetes centre - first of its kind in Africa 

Humanitarian organisation, the Gift of the Givers Foundation, has donated R5 million to the hospital for catch-up surgeries.

"We are making major interventions in the health sector including supporting 210 hospitals nationwide during Covid-19. We are providing, PPEs, scrubs, pulse oximeters, non-contact thermometers, video laryngoscopes, high flow nasal oxygen machines, CPAP machines, medicines, food for patients, motivational goodie bags for healthcare workers, paying for additional support staff, drilling boreholes and carrying out infrastructure upgrades," said the foundation's Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.

Sooliman and the GSH management, including CEO Dr Patel, head of general surgery Professor Lydia Cairncross and GSH Trust chairperson Mustaq Brey are appealing to people and businesses to join the GSH Trust and Gift of the Givers in raising funds to ensure the essential surgeries take place as quickly as possible.

GSH is providing theatre space, equipment, consumables, and the surgical expertise needed to ensure these essential surgeries are run in tandem with the normal workload of surgeries coming into the hospital.

Cairncross added:

It is highly remarkable that clinicians are willing to do the extra work needed to make this happen when so many are burnt out by the pandemic. This speaks to the dedication involved in rolling out this project and their compassion for their patients.

Going forward, the hospital aims to complete the normal influx of surgeries while the Surgical Recovery Project runs alongside it.

"This project aims to begin its first surgeries in May 2022. This is pending the support from individuals and businesses who are encouraged to pledge to make a difference in a project where each R10 000 will mean an operation for someone who has been waiting to have their joint replaced, cataract removed or cancer surgery performed," Jacobs added.

Discussions surrounding the fundraising to raise the R15million to clear the surgery backlogs.
Charity organisation Gift of the Givers has given the hospital R5million for the catch up of surgeries.

According to the hospital, the first public donation was pledged on Tuesday morning by a group of friends who will hike up the Otter Trail in February.

Zaheer Parker, one of the friends, has committed to raising R100 000 for the Surgical Recovery Project.

"Raising money to enable people's surgeries makes our 'bucket-list' experience so much more meaningful. It is an honour to help the hospital.  We encourage other running, hiking, cycling, and outdoor enthusiast groups to come on board and raise funds for this critical initiative," Parker said.

You can donate to the Surgical Recovery Project here or EFT funds into the GSH Trust bank account using the following details:

Bank: First National Bank

Branch code: 210554

Account name: Groote Schuur Hospital Trust

Account number: 62889609304

Account type: Business

Swift code: FIRNZAJJ

Reference: YourName + SurgRecov

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