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HomeWeekly RoundupElective surgery resumes at many SA hospitals subject to testing

Elective surgery resumes at many SA hospitals subject to testing

Netcare has resumed elective surgery at all its hospitals, while Western Cape public hospitals are on the verge of doing so, subject to pre-surgery COVID-19 testing.

The Citizen reports that Western Cape Health is planning to resume elective surgeries at public hospitals as COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to decline in the province. However, the head of the provincial health department Dr Keith Cloete said this would have to be done carefully, as areas in the province peaked and declined at different rates. “It is going to be slower because of the COVID reality,” said Cloete.

The report says it would probably also involve having a COVID-19 test before going for surgery. The provincial government was confident that it had enough beds and equipment to cope with another rise in cases, and to manage current and new cases.

Netcare, too, has announced that elective surgeries have fully resumed at all Netcare hospitals and day hospitals.

It said in a statement that elective surgery was initially resumed on a limited basis at Netcare hospitals in May, referencing the guidelines of the American College of Surgeons, the Federation of Surgeons of SA and the SA Society of Anaesthesiologists. At that stage, elective surgery was resumed on the basis that the decision by treating specialists to proceed with such surgery would be informed by an internationally recognised decision-making framework called the “medically necessary, time sensitive procedures” (MeNTS).

“With the number of patients who have been confirmed as COVID-19 positive or who are under investigation for COVID-19 and who require hospital care continuing to reduce, non-urgent elective surgeries have fully resumed at Netcare hospitals and day hospitals,” says Jacques Du Plessis, MD of Netcare’s hospital division.

Du Plessis says the decision whether to proceed with a specific surgical procedure is solely that of the treating surgeon and the patient. “Should there be a capacity constraint in a specific hospital at a certain time, this is also taken into consideration in determining which surgeries should be given priority. Management at Netcare hospitals continue to work closely with the COVID-19 clinical committee, and specifically the surgical sub-committee, at their hospital, to ensure the appropriate application of the scheduling principles in such cases.

“To minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading into or within Netcare hospitals, patients are still required to test for COVID-19 at least 72 hours before their planned admission, to self-quarantine from the time of testing to admission, and to present their results on the day of their planned admission when they will also complete the digital screening for COVID-19. Separate zones for patients who are COVID-19 negative, under investigation or positive are strictly maintained to ensure the safety of our patients as well as our healthcare workers,” says Du Plessis.

[link url="https://citizen.co.za/news/covid-19/2346120/covid-19-update-western-cape-eyes-level-1-due-to-decline-in-cases/"]Full report in The Citizen[/link]

[link url="https://www.netcare.co.za/News-Hub/Articles/elective-surgery-fully-and-responsibly-resumed-at-netcare-hospitals-and-day-hospitals"]Netcare material[/link]

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