Frere Hospital’s turnaround recognised with international accolade

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Frere Hospital in East London will be among six hospitals in the world to receive a prestigious international accolade at the 42nd World Hospital Congress in Brisbane, Australia. According to a Daily Dispatch report, the International Hospital Federation (IHF) is recognising the East London hospital for their turnaround quality improvement project. The hospital will receive the top IHF/Dr Kwang Tae Kim Grand Award.

The report says the IHF judges looked at 118 health organisations in 33 countries, with 27 entries selected as finalists under the federation’s four categories.

According to the IHF website, Dr Kwang Tae Kim is an internationally-renowned surgeon who has made a contribution to clinical excellence in the healthcare sector in South Korea and internationally. He was president of the International Hospital Federation from 2013 to 2015

Frere CEO Dr Rolene Wagner will receive the award. She is quoted in the report as saying: “I feel like a captain lifting the champion league cup. The overwhelming feeling is one of pride and joy. I am so proud of each of our managers and staff who come to work every day to make a difference in the lives of the people we serve.”

She said after Frere Hospital received an encouraging nudge from the national department of health for their improvement project, the hospital took the leap and entered the rigorous international award. Wagner said the hospital adopted a number of quality improvement projects that produced significant reductions in patient deaths and led to greater patient satisfaction with the care received.

“It is extremely gratifying to receive such a prestigious recognition for the hard work our management and staff have put into turning Frere around under very difficult conditions.

“We set out five years ago to provide world-class, patient care so that every patient has the best possible outcome and a positive experience of care from our team of dedicated employees,” Wagner said.

The report says she reflected on the hospital’s journey from 2012, when it made headlines for all the wrong reasons, such as a high death rate among infants and delayed medical attention. She said hospital infrastructure was in a state of disrepair, and public confidence stood at an all-time low.

“The Frere turnaround demonstrates that quality service is possible even in highly constrained environments. It provides models of how, with a specific leadership and operations management approach, the right focus and collaboration with strategic partners, it is possible to accelerate and sustain quality improvement initiatives,” she said.

She said delivering care in the public sector was a complex experience with a highly bureaucratic environment and major resource constraints. “This has forced us to be innovative in solving our challenges,” she said.

Daily Dispatch report

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