New hospital for Nelspruit
04 October 2012 | Christopher de Wet
NELSPRUIT - The provincial capital will soon boast its third private hospital after the launch of the R233 million Kiaat Hospital development on Wednesday.
It is to be constructed within the Kiaat Ridge mixed use development park, which is situated on the R40 right across the entrance to Penryn College.
The construction will be undertaken by Group 5 and commissioned by Nozala Health Partners (NHP), compromising of 125 beds and seven theatres and supported by comprehensive diagnostic, pharmacy, laboratory, emergency and wellness clinical services.
NHP is a broad based women's empowerment group focused on the acquisition of significant interests in listed and unlisted companies operating mainly in the resources, industrial consumer services and health care sectors.
The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) together with Health Partners, Nozala Investments, Ngwenyama Consortium and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) forms the core partnership in the project.
According to Mr Tony Lundin, executive director, the new institution this is not the average run-of-the-mill private hospital setup, but rather a comprehensive combination of primary health care and medical research that is "very different from what is currently available."
"The model of care provided here will fit well into the new SA health care scenario, providing patient care at a substantially reduced cost, fully supporting the concept of public-private cooperation in health matters and the implementation of the proposed NHI scheme for all South Africans," said Lundin.
This will also assist the region in addressing the serious shortage of qualified medical staff such as nurses and doctors.
According to Dr Daniel Matjila, the chief investment officer of the PIC, the building of the institution will create both short term and sustainable jobs.
"An estimated 347 during the construction period and 290 for nurses, porters and pharmacists, incrementally over a period of five years," he said.
He added that low and middle income earners in Nelspruit and surrounding areas will also be able to access private health care through this development.
According to the MEC for Health and Social Development in Mpumalanga, Dr Clifford Mkasi, who formed part of the symbolic turning of the sod-ceremony to signify the start of construction of the project, this forms part of provincial government's efforts to provide access to quality health care to the communities through public-private partnerships.
Although this would alleviate some of the immediate problems regarding the high vacancies of medical professionals, Mkasi did acknowledge that problems in provincial hospitals will remain government's biggest challenge.
"We will have to fill the vacancies in our provincial hospitals," said Mkasi during the press briefing after the launch.
Mkasi did however add that with the new project, Mbombela is put in a position to attract and retain more qualified medical professionals as private hospitals can offer better remuneration packages.
"Professionals go where pastures are greener, and this is in the private sector," he said.
He also played down fears that the new hospital might further diminish the low number of medical professionals in local provincial hospitals such as Rob Ferreira and said that the private hospital might acquire the expertise of some of the local doctors, but only on a contractual basis and would still be able to fulfil their duties in provincial hospitals.