Media releases

Tick infestations prompt warnings of tick borne diseases

Heavy tick infestations reported in Limpopo and Botswana

Wednesday, April 11 2018

Heavy tick infestations are being reported by visitors to areas such as the Botswana Central Kalahari Game reserves and the Waterberg in Limpopo, and Netcare travel clinics has cautioned travellers to these regions to take measures to protect themselves from tick-borne diseases.

“There is uncertainty as to what has caused these infestations but it has been suggested that the high rainfall and temperatures that have been prevalent in these areas in recent weeks, as well as the lack of veld fires may have contributed to these infestations,” says Dr Pete Vincent of Netcare travel clinics and Medicross family medical and dental centres, Tokai.

“Whatever the cause of the infestations, it should be kept in mind that ticks commonly carry diseases such as spotted fever rickettsiosis, or tick bite fever, and occasionally the more dangerous Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, which is fortunately not common in our country. However, African tick bite fever is a commonly reported infection in South Africa, where it is endemic in areas such as the East Coast, Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Drakensberg area and the Kruger National Park,” says Dr Vincent.

“Visitors to any bushveld areas of the country that have experienced high rainfalls in recent weeks, including the northern regions of South Africa and neighbouring countries, should therefore be vigilant of ticks and tick-bite fever, and take precautions against being bitten by these parasitic arthropods.”

He says that it is advisable for those who go on hikes or walks through long grass, or who come in close contact with cattle and other animals, to be particularly careful.

“Inspect your clothes and body for ticks immediately after potential exposure, particularly on the legs, groin and hair line while in an area where there may be ticks. Extracting any ticks as soon as possible using tweezers can greatly reduce the chances of becoming infected with a tick-borne disease,” adds Dr Vincent.

“One can also take other precautions before going for walks, such as wearing long trousers that are tucked into long socks and boots or closed shoes. A tick repellent spray product containing pyrethroid can also be sprayed onto clothing and leggings, and onto tent groundsheets.”

According to Dr Vincent, the severity of tick bite fever can vary widely, but if it is not treated promptly, it is often a debilitating illness, running its course over two weeks or so, and cause high fevers, muscle pain, rashes and severe headaches. The incubation period is usually eight days and an infected bite usually forms a black centre (eschar) with tender swollen local lymph nodes.
“Those who have been bitten by a tick and who develop such symptoms should therefore urgently seek medical attention. Treatment is usually with a tetracycline antibiotic which should minimise the impact of the illness and prevent any possible complications.”

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Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Travel Clinics
Contact    :    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, and Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za or meggan@mnapr.co.za

 

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Outbreaks stoke concerns that a severe flu season is in store for SA

Influenza vaccine still offers best protection

Tuesday, April 10 2018

The Super 15 Rugby season has kicked off with a bang in recent weeks, but the Stormers team had a most unfortunate start, with the ranks of their players dramatically thinned by what coach Robbie Fleck described as “a hectic strain of flu”.

Dr Pete Vincent of the Netcare travel clinics and Medicross Tokai family medical and dental centre, says although the influenza, or flu, ‘season’ is only just starting in South Africa, a number of people have already contracted the flu.

“The countries within the northern hemisphere, such as the United States, have had a relatively severe 2017/2018 flu season. That is usually an indication that we may also have a bad flu season here in South Africa during our upcoming winter months,” observes Dr Vincent.

“If you consider that flu-related complications result in the death of between a 6 000 to 11 000 South Africans every year, and thousands of economically productive hours are lost as a result of the illness, we would argue that every flu season is severe, particularly for those who are more at risk,” he notes.

“All South Africans who want to protect themselves and their families this upcoming flu season, which is usually considered to run from April through to August, should consider having a flu shot.

“The influenza vaccine is still considered by healthcare authorities the world over, including our National Institute of Communicable Diseases [NICD], to offer individuals and communities the best protection available against influenza. And, for those who are at high risk of developing potentially serious complications such as pneumonia, the vaccine should be mandatory,” comments Dr Vincent.

He advises that sportspeople or other South Africans who have contracted flu refrain from engaging in sports, extended periods of strenuous physical activity and physical exercise until their doctor gives them the go-ahead, as the combination of flu and exercise can have serious long-term health consequences.

According to Dr Vincent, the H3N2 influenza virus strain has proved particularly virulent in the United States this year, and he says that this strain has been strongly associated with complications such as pneumonia.

“Bacterial pneumonia can be very dangerous for anyone, but is particularly so for high-risk individuals, such as the elderly, babies, small children, pregnant women and anyone else with a compromised immune system. Such individuals should also seriously consider having the pneumonia vaccine administered along with the flu shot.

“A new single dose vaccine is available which protects against the common streptococcus bacteria that causes pneumonia. This vaccine can provide many years of protection against this dangerous illness, and life-long protection for those over the age of 60,” he advises.

The flu vaccine is developed annually according to World Health Organization (WHO) strain recommendations, for both the southern and northern hemisphere flu seasons. The annual southern hemisphere vaccine, which is available to South Africans, usually provides protection from the three strains of the flu virus that are identified by WHO researchers as likely to be the most prevalent during that particular season.

“It has been estimated that in South Africa some 50% of flu-related deaths occur in the elderly and approximately 30% in people with HIV/Aids. This underscores just how important it is to protect such at-risk groups of people in particular,” observes Dr Vincent.

He suggests that the individuals most at risk of developing serious complications from flu include:

  • Those who are 65 years of age and older;
  • Individuals who have respiratory conditions such as asthma and emphysema;
  • People who may have compromised immune systems such as HIV-positive individuals, or those undergoing radiation or chemotherapy for cancer;
  • Those who have chronic conditions such as heart or kidney failure or diabetes;
  • Women who are in their second or third trimester of pregnancy;
  • Babies and small children.

“Despite what we may read on Facebook, the flu vaccine is safe and, while it does not always offer a complete safeguard against the illness, it does usually offer a good measure of protection. In fact, this vaccine can and does save many lives every year and we recommend that all South Africans should consider having it,” concludes Dr Vincent.

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Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Travel Clinics and Medicross
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, meggan@mnapr.co.za or estene@mnapr.co.za

 

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New angiography technology ‘an important development for medicine in Africa

Cutting edge patient-centric technology enables minimally invasive procedures

Wednesday, April 4 2018

An upgraded integrated hybrid theatre equipped with Gauteng province’s first ARTIS pheno robot-supported angiography system for the diagnosis and treatment of a range medical conditions, including the most complex vascular cases, is now fully operational at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg.

“This is the second Siemens ARTIS pheno system to have been installed at a Netcare hospital in South Africa, the first having been installed at Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town last year. The two Artis pheno systems are also the first in Africa, and among the very first in the world, keeping South Africa at the cutting edge of medical technology internationally,” says Jacques du Plessis, managing director of Netcare’s hospital division.

“The patient-centric ARTIS pheno system enables a wide range of diagnostic and intricate image-guided minimally invasive surgical interventions to be undertaken. It is specially designed for the modern hybrid theatre and to serve patients who suffer from multiple medical conditions and larger individuals,” adds Du Plessis.

“The acquisition of this equipment is a major investment by Netcare in the quality of care we are committed to providing our patients. We regard the commissioning of this system, which we have carefully researched, as the most advanced and versatile technology of its kind available. We therefore view this as an important advancement for medicine on the continent,” he observes.

Du Plessis explains that angiogram technology is a form of medical imaging used to visualise the inside of blood vessels and organs. Due to its advanced, highly practical and compact design, the multi-purpose ARTIS pheno system is ideal for use in a hybrid theatre, which is a theatre designed to enable simultaneous interventions as well as open surgery, such as that established at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital.

“The equipment provides medical specialists with the highest quality three-dimensional imaging of any part of the human body. This can be used to more accurately diagnose and assess conditions, as well as to precisely guide a range of different types of endovascular, cardiac and other treatment interventions,” he notes.

According to Du Plessis, vascular surgeons are currently exclusively using, and being trained in the ARTIS pheno technology at the two Netcare hospitals, however, it can be used in all fields of medicine including cardiology, urology, orthopaedics, neurology and trauma, among others. The vascular surgeons who practise at and will be using the new system at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital include Dr Pradeep Mistry, Dr Dirk le Roux and Prof Lewis Levien.

“The acquisition of this equipment has not only generated a great deal of interest from our vascular surgeons, but also among the other interventional specialists who practise at the two hospitals where it has been installed. We have, for example, had interventional cardiologists express an interest in using it to assist them with minimally invasive heart valve replacement. We look forward to expanding its use into other fields of medicine,” observes Du Plessis.

Dr Mistry says the ARTIS pheno system enables endovascular and cardiovascular surgeons at the hospital to visualise and treat even the very smallest diseased vessels and anatomy with a great degree of precision. It also allows interventions to be accurately planned and performed via tiny incisions in the skin, thereby avoiding the larger surgical incisions that are used in traditional open surgery.

“These minimally invasive interventions, as they are known, mean that patients tend to suffer less post-surgery discomfort and are able to get back on their feet much more quickly. They are also safer to use in more vulnerable patients whose health is severely compromised for one or more reasons. These kinds of procedures are becoming increasingly popular among patients and referring doctors both locally and around the world,” notes Dr Mistry.

“With a growing aging population in South Africa, there has been an increased demand in recent years for the treatment of highly complicated endovascular and cardiovascular cases, which may involve patients who are not only highly vulnerable from a health perspective, but who also often suffer from a number of simultaneous, or co-morbid, health conditions. This technology, which can be fitted with a complete range of optional software applications, is ideal for the treatment of such patients,” he adds.

Dr Mistry says the new system has already assisted the team at the hospital to perform some highly intricate endovascular procedures to treat problems and diseases impacting the blood vessels, such as aneurysms, which is when a weakened section of blood vessel ‘balloons’, and threatens to burst.

“Using this state-of-the-art angiography system we are able to overlay angiographic studies with CT  [computed tomography] scans to provide a highly accurate pre-procedure assessment of even the most complex of cases. We are able to fully customise our planning to align with the condition of each individual patient prior to undertaking the endovascular procedure.

“In addition, the technology and its software provides us with a great deal of intraoperative guidance for the specific procedure we are undertaking, and provides us with many more therapy options and possibilities,” observes Dr Mistry.

The angiography device can scan up to 15 percent faster than other such systems, which meaningfully reduces radiation exposure to both the patients and the treatment team, according to Dr Mistry. The shortened scan times also reduce patient exposure to the contrast agent that is used.

Netcare Sunninghill Hospital general manager, Pieter Louw, says that the facility’s upgraded hybrid theatre with its improved design and world-class technologies such as the ARTIS pheno system, makes the best possible tools available to its surgeons, and interventional specialists.

Louw says that the upgraded hybrid theatre is likely to encourage the referral of more patients from South Africa and the African continent to Netcare Sunninghill Hospital cardiovascular centre.

“The technology and facilities on offer at the new theatre will assist in further improving the hospital’s already outstanding treatment outcomes in cardiovascular surgery and other fields, and will also assist in reducing the length of hospital stays,” he concludes.

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Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare Sunninghill Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, and Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za or meggan@mnapr.co.za

 

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Netcare saddened by passing of struggle stalwart

Mrs Winnie Mandela passed away peacefully at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg

Tuesday, April 3 2018

It is with profound sadness that we announce that Mrs Winnie Mandela passed away peacefully this afternoon (02 April 2018) at Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg after a prolonged illness.

Mrs Mandela was surrounded by her family and loved ones. On behalf of Netcare we express our deep sorrow at the passing of Mrs Mandela, the mother of our nation, a heroine and struggle icon, who devoted her life to the liberation of South Africa.

Our thoughts and prayers are with her daughters and family at this sad time.

Issued by Dr Richard Friedland chief executive officer of Netcare

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Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney or Meggan Saville  
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za or meggan@mnapr.co.za  

 

 

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Netcare announces decision to exit the United Kingdom

Strategic decision the result of inability to negotiate lower rentals in the UK

Wednesday, March 28 2018

Netcare Limited, South Africa’s largest private hospital and emergency medical services operator, has announced a strategic decision to exit the United Kingdom (UK) market. Netcare will be initiating a process to dispose of its interests in General Healthcare Group (GHG).

Netcare acquired GHG in May 2006 as part of a consortium. Shortly after the acquisition, GHG was restructured into an operating company (BMI Healthcare) and a series of property companies (collectively “PropCo”) that held the hospital properties and leased them to BMI Healthcare under long-term leases. 

Netcare has spent considerable time and resources pursuing a rent reduction transaction with BMI Healthcare’s largest landlord on 35 of its 59 hospital properties.  However, after more than five years of negotiation, Netcare has concluded that it is highly unlikely that it will be able to conclude a rent reduction transaction under which the UK business will have the resources necessary for ongoing investment to allow BMI Healthcare to remain competitive and simultaneously generate an appropriate risk adjusted return commensurate with the rest of the Netcare group’s businesses.

“When these UK lease arrangements were concluded”, said Dr Richard Friedland, Netcare CEO, “they were considered market related and provided for a fixed escalation in rent of 2.5% per annum. However, following the global financial crisis of 2008, the accompanying declining private medical insurance (PMI) demand, and the sustained period of exceptionally low inflation in recent years, BMI Healthcare’s rent obligations have grown to be unaffordable.

“The continued escalation in rent is unsustainable. In 2017, rental costs represented approximately 20% of UK revenue and this is a drain on capital which BMI Healthcare otherwise needs for ongoing and future investment,” says Friedland.  This circumstance is not dissimilar to other businesses in the UK where rent obligations have become onerous.

“The UK healthcare market has changed fundamentally since Netcare acquired GHG in 2006 as a result primarily of the global financial crisis and recession that followed. This substantially eroded demand for private medical insurance in the UK. This was partially compensated by the increasing number of NHS patients treated in the private sector at lower tariffs. Recently however, and particularly since 2017, NHS demand management interventions to reduce elective surgery have impacted all providers.

These pricing pressures have required the business to respond and implement efficiency measures. BMI has successfully done so over the last few years, but it is now critical that this large fixed rental cost be corrected as market conditions in the UK are expected to remain challenging in the medium to long term” added Friedland.

Netcare has previously indicated that it would not invest further capital into BMI Healthcare in the absence of a rent reduction transaction.

Furthermore, the short-term funding solution concluded with BMI Healthcare’s lenders in December 2017 expires on 31 March 2018. The lenders have conditioned any further short-term funding on existing GHG shareholders relinquishing effective control of the boards of directors of BMI Healthcare. Netcare has agreed, in the interests of the business, to accede to this demand.  This has allowed BMI Healthcare to conclude a further short-term funding arrangement with its lenders and it will continue to pursue a longer-term funding arrangement.

Netcare has always ring-fenced its respective businesses in SA and the UK. As such, the debt obligations of BMI Healthcare and those of PropCo do not have recourse to Netcare and its South African operations. 

“Just as our investment in the UK market made good sense at the time, so too we believe that the decision to exit that market is in the best interests of Netcare shareholders.   

“Netcare’s business model in South Africa remains sound, and we’re expecting good growth in profitability in this financial year from the SA operations,” says Friedland. “As announced earlier in March, Netcare is delighted with the successful acquisition of Akeso Clinics in South Africa, with the addition of 12 dedicated mental healthcare facilities providing Netcare with an excellent and established platform from which to expand its mental health offering and contribute to the future growth of the Group.”

Notes to journalists

About Netcare

Netcare operates the largest private hospital, primary healthcare, emergency medical services and renal care networks in South Africa. In addition to its world-class acute private hospital services in SA and the UK (the latter offered through BMI Healthcare), Netcare provides:

  • cancer services including radiosurgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, bone marrow transplant and robotic-assisted surgery;
  • primary healthcare services through Medicross;
  • emergency medical services through Netcare 911;
  • occupational health and employee wellness services through Netcare Occupational Health;
  • mental health and psychiatric services through Akeso; and
  • renal dialysis through National Renal Care.

Netcare also has the distinction of being a leading private trainer of emergency medical and nursing personnel in the country.

Netcare’s core value is care. From this value flow four others, namely dignity, participation, truth and passion. We work hard to entrench these values in every action, decision and intervention we take with our patients, their families, our colleagues and communities.

For more information visit www.netcare.co.za.

Issued by:         Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare
Contact:            Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney or Meggan Saville 
Telephone:        011 469 3016
Email:               martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, or meggan@mnapr.co.za
 

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Emergency service leaves nothing to chance this Easter

Emergency service leaves nothing to chance this Easter

Monday, March 26 2018

As South Africans take to the roads to their vacation destinations or to visit family and loved ones over this Easter holiday season, emergency services provider Netcare 911 has announced that it has embarked on a project to upgrade the design of its ambulances ahead of the holiday season in order to further improve the safety of its patients, other road users and its emergency services personnel.

Pic: Emergency services provider Netcare 911 has embarked on a project to upgrade the design of its ambulances ahead of the holiday season in order to further improve the safety of its patients, other road users and its emergency services personnel. Most of the changes to these new vehicles have to do with further improving their visibility on the roads.

“Netcare 911 will once again be mobilising its full complement of personnel and emergency vehicles to assist South Africans around the country in the unfortunate event that they have a medical emergency,” says Shalen Ramduth, director of business development and support services at Netcare 911.

According to Ramduth, most of the changes to the vehicles have to do with improving their visibility on the roads. “Time is of the essence in a medical emergency and it is therefore critical for our ambulances to get to the scene as rapidly as possible. To achieve this safely, other road users need to be aware of, and to give way to, these emergency vehicles. We have consequently added additional warning lights to the vehicles.”

The brand new ambulances, seven of which have already been delivered to Netcare 911, have been fitted with a large protective bull-bar, as well as floodlights that can be used to light an accident or other emergency scene where this may be necessary, especially at night.

“The siren units have been fitted on to the bullbar for maximum audio benefit to road users, so that the ambulance siren can be heard from a distance. Additional LED cluster lights have been added to the bullbar at a 45 degree angle to enhance visibility through intersections.”

Ramduth says that Netcare 911 uses purpose-built Volkswagen T6s to meet its exacting ambulance requirements. “Nothing is left to chance in the design of these vehicles, which are equipped with the latest in emergency medical, navigation and communication technologies.”

“The ambulance has a large cabin area, which gives our emergency services personnel plenty of space in which to care for their patients efficiently and ensures maximum patient comfort during transport. The VW T6 also offers excellent stability, occupant safety, reliability and performance. All of our new vehicles will be developed to the new design specifications,” observes Ramduth.

“We are at all times looking to ensure that the patients in our care are provided with the highest quality and safest emergency medical care. We will, as always, be on high alert over this holiday season. Should you find yourself in a position where people are in need of urgent medical attention please do not hesitate to call us on 082 911,” concludes Ramduth.

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Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact:              Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney and Meggan Saville
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:        martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za or meggan@mnapr.co.za  

 

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Netcare Renews Comrades Sponsorship

Netcare 911 and Netcare remain the official emergency medical services providers to the Comrades Marathon

Thursday, March 22 2018

Netcare 911 and Netcare will remain the official emergency medical services and hospital services providers to the Comrades Marathon for another four years. The leading private healthcare provider group has been supplying their state of the art health services to The Ultimate Human Race since 2004.

In terms of the agreement, Netcare will continue to provide a hospital medical service to all athletes on race day. The referral hospital before halfway will be St Anne’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg while St Augustine’s Hospital in Durban will serve as the referral hospital after halfway.

Netcare 911 will provide the pre-hospital medical rescue service to all Comrades participants who require pre-hospital emergency medical attention. Netcare will operate a fleet of vehicles, manned by qualified paramedics and medical personnel available on race day, including:

  • 16 ambulances
  • 5 rapid response cars
  • 4 rapid response motorcycles
  • 1 medical helicopter

A team of medical personnel will also be stationed at the Finish Venue.

Comrades Marathon Association General Manager, Chris Fisher said, “Our association with Netcare is based on strong mutual values that put the runner at the heart of everything we do. We are extremely pleased to announce the continuation of this long and fruitful partnership that the CMA shares with Netcare. We know, that with Netcare, ‘you’re in safe hands.’”

Netcare 911’s Managing Director, Craig Grindell says,   “We look forward to continue partnering with the Comrades Marathon and building on our long-standing relationship. We would like to assure the thousands of runners in this iconic race that their well-being is our priority, in line with Netcare and Netcare 911’s commitment to delivering world-class medical care. Our experienced personnel will be out in full force along the route and at the finish, and our Netcare hospitals will be fully geared to provide further medical care to those who may need it.”

The 2018 Comrades Marathon will start outside the Pietermaritzburg City Hall at 05h30 on Sunday, 10 June 2018 and finish 12 hours later at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

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Statement issued by the Comrades Marathon Association’s Media Officer Delaine Cools on Wednesday, 14 March 2018

For an interview, please contact:

  • CMA General Manager, Chris Fisher on 071 883 6919
  • Netcare’s Head of Business Development Support Services, Ruben Naidoo on 082 470 0828
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Stay safe during approaching holidays, Netcare 911 urges road users

Emergency medical services provider ready to assist over busy holiday period

Tuesday, March 20 2018

The first school holidays of the year coupled with an extra-long weekend signals a busy time on South African roads in the weeks ahead, but travellers can be reassured that Netcare 911 is ready to provide emergency medical care where the need arises.

“From our experience in previous years, we know that this is an especially busy time on our roads and this, unfortunately, often leads to an increase in the number of tragic road accidents,” says Shalen Ramduth, Netcare 911’s director: business development and support services.

Netcare 911 has bolstered its resources with ambulances, advanced life support response vehicles and emergency care practitioners along the N3 highway between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal during this busy holiday period. It is hoped that in addition to being ready to provide prompt emergency medical and rescue assistance to the public where needed, the high-visibility of the Netcare 911 team will help to keep road safety top-of-mind among road users.

“Every motorist has a role to play in helping to make South Africa’s roads safer over this time by following reasonable safety precautions and displaying courteous driving behaviour. If we all take a few simple measures when travelling, it is possible to reduce the number of accidents and ensure that more people reach their destinations without incident and return safely after their holidays.”

Two major contributors to road accidents are driver fatigue and drunk driving, which are preventable.

“Drivers need to be mentally alert and in good physical condition when embarking on a road trip, and stop at least every two hours for a break to refresh themselves so that they do not become fatigued, which can impair driving ability,” Ramduth advises.

“Drinking and driving is highly irresponsible and we urge the public not to drive while intoxicated or travel with a driver who is under the influence.

“One of the most dangerous things about alcohol is that it can stimulate people to take unnecessary risks without them realising that their judgment and coordination are impaired. Alcohol often creates a sense of confidence, so that people under the influence mistakenly believe that they are fully in control and able to drive.”

Ramduth urges drivers to ensure that their vehicle is roadworthy and equipped with a spare tyre that is in good repair, basic tools, a reflective triangle and first aid kit.

Netcare 911 urges road users to follow these basic safety tips:

  • Always ‘buckle up’: ensure that the driver and passengers are wearing seat belts and children are properly secured in safety seats at all times during a journey.
  • Get adequate quality sleep before setting off on your journey.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before and during the journey.
  • Stop and take a break from driving at least every two hours.
  • If you are feeling tired, stop at a safe place and stretch your legs – wait for at least ten minutes before getting back in the car as you need to ensure that you are properly refreshed – or take a nap if you are still tired.
  • Keep the temperature in your car cool, since a warmer interior encourages sleepiness.
  • Make a point of checking blind spots and ‘reading’ road conditions such as watching out for potholes or a slippery surface in rainy weather, as well as oncoming and rear traffic – do not simply keep your eye on the vehicle ahead of you. Also watch out specifically for pedestrians and cyclists near or on the road.
  • Do not use your cell phone while driving, rather allow your passengers to SMS, tweet and take photographs for you.
  • Ensure a safe following distance of at least three seconds from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Stay calm and extend your following distance between erratic and aggressive drivers.

“The importance of a first aid kit is often overlooked and sometimes the contents of the kits have expired. It is therefore essential to check the contents of your first aid kit regularly and replace any expired or damaged contents,” he adds.

Checklist of items for your first aid kit:

  • Sterile medical gloves
  • Cotton wool
  • A digital thermometer
  • Two medical eye patches
  • Burnshield dressing
  • A variety of bandages and plasters as well as sterile gauze
  • Antiseptic wipes and liquid
  • A space blanket
  • Safety pins, scissors, tweezers
  • Paracetamol tablets and syrup

“Before setting off on your journey, it is advisable to do some research to obtain current information about the route that you are planning to take, including any roadworks or detours you will encounter. Getting lost or disorientated, especially when tired, can cause a driver to become distracted which could lead to an accident.”

Ramduth offers the following advice when reporting an emergency: “Dial 082 911. When the call is answered, begin by stating ‘I have an emergency…’. Give your name and contact number clearly so that we will the means to contact you. Immediately state whether it is a life-threatening situation and be specific about the nature of your emergency. Give your exact location and the physical address or location where the individuals requiring assistance can be found.”

Technology is also making it easier to call for assistance in the case of an emergency, and a partnership between Netcare 911 and mySOS emergency mobile application is helping emergency medical practitioners to pinpoint the location of people requiring their assistance. 

In an emergency, the mySOS app sends an alert to Netcare 911’s national emergency operations centre, and your selected loved ones to show them your GPS location. The app also makes a phone call to Netcare 911, so that assistance is mobilised in the shortest possible time. The mySOS app can be downloaded for free from https://www.mysos.co.za/download.html.

“It is always our hope that there will not be any accidents, and that by drawing attention to road safety matters we can contribute to many preventable accidents being avoided. Nonetheless, Netcare 911’s dedicated emergency care practitioners will be on full alert and ready to assist in case of any medical emergency that may arise,” Ramduth concludes.

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Issued by:           MNA on behalf of Netcare 911
Contact:               Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney orMeggan Saville 
Email:                   martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za or meggan@mnapr.co.za 

 

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Competition Tribunal approves Netcare’s acquisition of Akeso

Netcare Limited (“Netcare”) and Akeso Clinics

Monday, March 19 2018

Private healthcare group, Netcare, and Akeso Clinics, a group of 12 dedicated mental healthcare facilities, today announced that the Competition Tribunal, supported by the Competition Commission, has approved the acquisition of Akeso by Netcare. The proposed transaction, which was first announced on 21 November 2016, will therefore proceed as planned.

Akeso has 811 beds in facilities located throughout South Africa in areas such as Cape Town, George, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Nelspruit, Umhlanga and Pietermaritzburg. Netcare will make use of existing resources to fund the R1.3 billion acquisition.

Commenting on the acquisition, Dr Richard Friedland, chief executive officer of Netcare, said: “We are continuously exploring ways to improve our service offering to patients and have recognised the growing demand for mental healthcare services in South Africa.

“The Netcare Group is a leading provider of primary, secondary and tertiary private healthcare services in the country, but is largely under-represented in the mental healthcare field, as we do not currently have bespoke or dedicated mental health or psychiatric facilities in our portfolio.

“Akeso has an outstanding reputation, a well-respected and experienced management team, and an excellent patient-centred clinical programme. We therefore believe that the acquisition of Akeso provides a strong platform from which to expand our mental health services in South Africa,” added Dr Friedland.

Allan Sweidan, co-founder and managing director of Akeso Clinics, commented that “The acquisition by Netcare will enable an additional investment in what is already a successful model for the delivery of mental healthcare, while assisting Akeso to further expand our existing footprint. This is therefore a strategically important step for Akeso and we look forward to long-term growth resulting from our inclusion in the Netcare Group.”

The transaction was subject to various regulatory approvals, including the sanction of the Competition Tribunal. Following numerous constructive engagements, a joint proposal by Netcare, Akeso and the Competition Commission was presented to the Tribunal. This included that the proposed transaction be approved subject to certain conditions, including Netcare’s disposal of Netcare Rand and Netcare Bell Street hospitals. 

Dr Friedland assured staff, doctors and patients that Netcare Rand and Netcare Bell Street hospitals would continue to function as normal for the foreseeable future and that a process to dispose of the facilities would ensue.

“We are engaging with our staff at Netcare Rand and Netcare Bell Street hospitals and encourage them to remain fully focused on delivering quality patient care and excellent service. There will be job and employment continuity opportunities for all staff currently working at these facilities and we will engage with them to keep them fully appraised of all developments as they unfold,” he added.

In conclusion, Dr Friedland said that Allan Sweidan, will continue to manage the business within Netcare. “Allan and the Akeso management team have made an important contribution in establishing a multi-disciplinary approach to mental health and psychiatric care in South Africa and, strategically, is an ideal fit to complement the Netcare Group’s other businesses.

Notes to journalists

About Netcare

Netcare operates the largest private hospital, primary healthcare, emergency medical services and renal care networks in South Africa. In addition to its world-class acute private hospital services in SA and the UK (the latter offered through BMI Healthcare), Netcare provides:

  • cancer services including radiotherapy and chemotherapy;
  • primary healthcare services through Medicross;
  • emergency medical services through Netcare 911;
  • occupational health and employee wellness services through Netcare Occupational Health; and
  • renal dialysis through National Renal Care.

The acquisition of Akeso now also adds dedicated mental health and psychiatric services to the Group’s portfolio.

Netcare also has the distinction of being a leading private trainer of emergency medical and nursing personnel in the country.

Netcare’s core value is care. From this value flow four others, namely dignity, participation, truth and passion. We work hard to entrench these values in every action, decision and intervention we take with our patients, their families, our colleagues and communities.

For more information visit www.netcare.co.za.

About Akeso Clinics

Akeso is a private inpatient mental health group that prides itself on providing individual, integrated, family-centred therapy and treatment for a wide range of physiological, psychiatric and behavioural disorders and conditions.

Akeso was established during 2008 following the acquisition of the Crescent Clinic in Randburg. Akeso opened its first greenfield hospital in Pietermaritzburg in March 2011, followed by Akeso Alberton in September 2011 and Akeso Parktown in March 2012. It acquired Akeso Kenilworth in March 2013, Akeso Stepping Stones (Kommetjie) in September 2014, Akeso Montrose (Bishops Court) in March 2015 and Akeso George in November 2015. It has subsequently opened new hospitals in Milnerton in September 2015, Umhlanga in December 2015 and Nelspruit in June 2017.

Its newly constructed facility in Arcadia opened on 31 January 2018. Akeso has grown from 85 beds in 2011 to its current 811 beds.

For more information visit www.akeso.co.za.

Issued by:           Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare and Akeso
Contact:             Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney or Meggan Saville 
Telephone:         011 469 3016
Email:                martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za, or meggan@mnapr.co.za

 

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Multilateral partnership makes important contribution to skills development

“South Africa’s very high rate of youth unemployment is a demographic disaster in the making." Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa

Thursday, March 15 2018

A multilateral partnership between the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA), Netcare and several TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) colleges has resulted in 51 young TVET learners not only successfully completing the Basics of Stores and Stock Control (BSSC) certificate endorsed by the South African Production and Inventory Control Society (SAPICS), but also becoming permanently employed as pharmacy store assistants at various Netcare hospitals across the country.

The achievements of these learners were celebrated yesterday at a graduation ceremony held at Netcare’s head office in Sandton. The Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, the Honourable Buti Manamela, attended the event and delivered the keynote address.

Pic: The Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training, the Honourable Buti Manamela (front, centre); Dr Confidence Moloko, Chairperson of the HWSETA Board (front, to the right); and Dr Richard Friedland, CEO of Netcare (2nd row, to the right) with the TVET learners who had successfully completed the Basics of Stores and Stock Control (BSSC) certificate.

During his tenure as Deputy Minister in the Presidency, with responsibility for youth development amongst other things, Deputy Minister Manamela was responsible for the Youth Policy 2015-2020 which had set a favourable environment for youth development, and has initiated many advancements aimed at the development of young people.

“The proposed National Skills Development Plan (NSDP) 2030 which was gazetted in December 2017 by the Minister of Higher Education and Training has been developed to improve both the integration of the post-school education and training system and the interface between post-school education and training (PSET) institutions and the world of work. One of the core objectives of the NSDP 2030 is to promote a stronger and more cooperative relationship between education and training institutions and the workplace,” Deputy Minister Manamela said in his address.

“The collaboration was initiated as part of a proposal that Netcare CEO, Dr Richard Friedland, presented to various stakeholders including the National Treasury and HWSETA, to drive targeted skills development initiatives that would lead to the creation of permanent jobs for our youth, through collaborative initiatives by the public and private healthcare sectors,” states Sanjay Khoosal, Netcare Head of People Development and Employment Equity.

Several NSDS objectives that have been successfully addressed through this project include forging positive and collaborative partnerships with the SETAs, the higher education institutions and employer organisations, bridging skills mismatches between demand and supply, creating job opportunities, and driving socio-economic transformation through the inclusion of black persons in economic activities.

“In this new era of ‘thuma mina’, meaning ‘send me’ in Zulu, this project bears testimony to the success we can all achieve when we transcend our ideological differences and work together – government, the education sector and the private sector – to drive inclusive economic growth, to bridge the gap between the provision of education in our schooling system and the world of work, and most importantly to uplift our people out of the triple burden of unemployment, poverty and inequality, and to build a country of which we can all be proud of,” Dr Friedland said of the collaboration between the different roleplayers that culminated in the learners’ graduation.

“Even before the Ministry of Higher Education and Training called on employers in all sectors to open up their places of work as places of training in 2013, Netcare had for several years worked closely with the HWSETA in a variety of skills development projects,” comments Dr Confidence Moloko, Chairperson of the HWSETA Board. “Netcare’s involvement in this project once again proves their commitment to building much-needed skills in the health sector.”

Commending Netcare’s focused and vigorous approach to skills development in the health sector over many years, Deputy Minister Manamela said: “The involvement of employers in skilling our country’s youth cannot be over stated. What we are celebrating here today is a shining example of what is possible from a skills development perspective when the different players in the skills development environment collaborate for the greater good. I sincerely hope that your successes will encourage more employers to become actively involved in developing our youth and driving the skills development mandate.”

With assistance from Campus Managers at TVET Colleges in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and the Western and Eastern Cape, learners who had successfully completed either business or financial management studies were identified for placement at Netcare hospitals across the country where they underwent an accelerated ‘Netcare on-boarding’ process. Once completed, the learners commenced an eight-month ‘Basics of Stores and Stock Control’ course in 2017.

By the end of February 2018, 51 learners had successfully completed the programme and were offered full-time employment in Netcare hospitals.

“Successfully completing their training and becoming employed by Netcare are important first steps for these young learners, and we at Netcare will support them in furthering their career development. The SAPICS certificate in the Principles of Production and Inventory Management [PPIM] would, for example, be an appropriate next step for them,” says Khoosal.

In congratulating the graduates, Deputy Minister Manamela said they should be proud of their achievements but also be grateful for the opportunity that has been afforded to you through the combined efforts of Netcare, the HWSETA and the principal of your TVET College.

Referring to the fact that Netcare has offered employment to all the graduates, he said: “Your future starts here today – work hard and remember that learning is a lifelong activity. You are the future leaders of our country. The world is yours for the taking, take what has been provided to you and make it work for you, your loved ones and the country.

One of the graduates, Nompi Mbongo, who is now employed by Netcare Linksfield Hospital, echoes the sentiments of many of her co-learners: “It was an amazing course. Doing both theoretical and practical work meant that you could take the theory you’ve learned in the classroom and apply it in the workplace. I am very grateful for the opportunity given to me by the HWSETA and Netcare, and to my line manager for coaching me throughout the course. I am inspired to continue growing my career.”

Whilst this project has made a meaningful contribution to skills development of, and job creation for, young people it has also resulted in the establishment of key relationships between Netcare and TVET Colleges across the country.

Nompi Mbongo, one of the graduates who is now employed by Netcare Linksfield Hospital, says she is inspired to continue growing her career. Here she is pictured with Vishala Gokool-Sewram (left), the General Manager Pharmacy at Netcare; and Elaine Brass, Acting CEO of the HWSETA (right).

“The country’s TVET College system has an important role to play in addressing the challenges facing the higher education and training needs of South Africa’s youth, and the success of this initiative will not only serve as important building blocks for future projects between willing companies such as Netcare and the colleges, but will hopefully also inspire more corporates to join forces with the colleges to accelerate skills development and job creation for the youth in other sectors of the economy,” says Mrs Elaine Brass, Acting CEO for the HWSETA.
Ends

Notes to editor:

About Netcare

Netcare operates the largest private hospital, primary healthcare, emergency medical services and renal care networks in South Africa. In addition to its world-class acute private hospital services in SA and the UK (the latter offered through BMI Healthcare), Netcare provides:

  • primary healthcare services through Medicross;
  • emergency medical services through Netcare 911;
  • occupational health and employee wellness services through Netcare Occupational Health; and
  • renal dialysis through National Renal Care.

Netcare also has the distinction of being a leading private trainer of emergency medical and nursing personnel in the country.

Netcare’s core value is care. From this value flow four others, namely dignity, participation, truth and passion. We work hard to entrench these values in every action, decision and intervention we take with our patients, their families, our colleagues and communities.

For more information visit www.netcare.co.za

About the HWSETA

Skills development is a national priority for South Africa and meeting the country’s skills needs requires collaboration between numerous public and government entities, educational institutions, training providers, as well as private organisations, no matter how big or small.

South Africa’s economy is divided into functional sectors and each of these sectors is represented by one of 21 Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs). The Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) is responsible for the education, training and skills development requirements of the health, social development and veterinary sectors.

The HWSETA exists to achieve the following within the sectors it serves:

  • Develop and implement the Sector Skills Plan
  • Skills development planning, programmes and initiatives
  • Monitoring of education and training
  • Identification of workplaces for practical work experience
  • Support and facilitate the development of the National Skills Development Strategy
  • Disbursement of levies collected
  • Forge links with all stakeholders and relevant bodies
  • Account for the effective and efficient use of public monies in line with the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act
  • Promotion of the employment of disabled persons

Ends

Contact: Netcare Limited

MNA on behalf of Netcare 
Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney or Meggan Saville 
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
Email:    martina@mnapr.co.za, graeme@mnapr.co.za  or meggan@mnapr.co.za

Contact: HWSETA

Elfrieda Tyrer
Marketing and Communications Manager
Direct:   011 607 7015
Mobile: 083 644 1700
E-mail:  elfriedat@hwseta.org.za

Extracted from an article Written by Mr Cyril Ramaphosa for Business Day – 1 December 2017 during his tenure as Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa.

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