New specialists for North West hospital

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The North West Health Department has beefed up Tshepong Hospital in Klerksdorp with 13 high-level specialists to provide patients with quality healthcare. According to a Sowetan report, the new specialists include a cardiologist, a cardio-thoracic surgeon, a gynaecologist, a plastic surgeon, a neurosurgeon, general surgeon, maxillo-facial surgeon and nephrologists.

The hospital is the province’s biggest hospital and can accommodate 900 in-patients. It was transformed from a regional hospital to a provincial tertiary institution, making it an end-level hospital.

Chief specialist physician Professor Binu Luke, who has been with the hospital for over 20 years, said the hospital provided tertiary services and had to develop many services and specialists that were not there before, like a maxillo-facial surgeon specialist.
Luke said in 2000, the hospital linked up with Wits University and the hospital became a training ground and attracted many specialists.

He said in the report that one of the imperatives of having a tertiary hospital was not only to provide services but also to teach other doctors. “We now have an additional responsibility of teaching and training doctors who are becoming specialists,” Luke said.
He said the hospital currently has over 250 doctors, including 50 specialists, 84 interns, 35 community service doctors and medical officers. “This is huge for us because when I started in 1993 we were only 26 (medical team),” Luke said.

He said the majority of the new recruits were trained at Wits, while others came from abroad. “Our ability to recruit has improved since we were linked to Wits, everybody knows us so when they (doctors) qualify they see this hospital as a good place to work at.”

Even though the hospital has achieved a lot in terms of its medical services, Luke said in the report that it lacked new infrastructure. “There is a need for revitalising the existing hospital or building a new one. We are well-developed to train students and one of the best performing public hospitals in the country. Infrastructure must also show (this),” he said.

Department spokesperson Tebogo Lekgethwane said in the report that the addition of specialists to the province’s hospitals was a significant step towards realisation of quality healthcare. Lekgethwane said the province has in the past referred most of the patients in need of specialist medical care to Gauteng hospitals.

“With this new crop of specialists who come from diverse areas of medical specialist areas, patients will now be treated in the province instead of being transferred to other provinces,” he said.

The report says Health MEC Madoda Sambatha welcomed the specialists. “You are indeed a solution to the health problems we experience. The department and the hospital must make sure you are kept happy so that you stay longer in the system.”

Sowetan report

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