GEORGE NEWS - The paediatric wing of the George Hospital is under tremendous strain because of the rapid population growth in the disadvantaged communities in the Southern Cape and Little Karoo.
Since a few years ago, when the Hospital Trust Fund initiated fundraising efforts, the situation has become more critical.
Blyth Thompson of the trust fund says they urgently need to get their envisioned R90-million redevelopment project, which will provide a bigger and better paediatric unit, off the ground.
"To this end, the trust has launched a brand-new website that we foresee will boost fundraising. The site allows the public to make online pledges and they can obtain all the background information on the project they need."
A generous R1-million donation from Prof Robert Frater (a trustee of the Hospital Trust Fund) and his wife, Elaine, launched the fund-raising campaign.
Dr Ilse Els-Goussard, head of the neonatal unit, says annually between 120 and 150 premature babies are treated there. On average, they stay for between 60 and 100 days.
"The pressure is immense. The paediatric and neonatal sections are squeezed into facilities that are inadequate and outdated, yet thanks to our dedicated personnel, service of an excellent standard is maintained."
According to hospital trust chairman Rev Michiel Burger, the pressure is compounded because the hospital is the referral centre for satellite hospitals and clinics throughout the region.
"It acts as both a regional and district hospital. We are fortunate to have a team of highly skilled and dedicated paediatric doctors and nurses. However, the inadequate facilities are putting enormous pressure on the hospital to maintain its high standards. The situation is worsened because of the great distance from Cape Town. This requires the hospital to provide tertiary services that would not usually be managed in a regional facility."
Hospital CEO Michael Vonk says decanting facilities will also be needed to cope with the demand during the building operations. A new paediatric unit will mean its current site can be used for a much-needed expansion of the oncology unit.
He says they hope to attract local and international donations. "The George Hospital has the reputation of being one of the best run government hospitals in South Africa. It is used as a teaching facility for medical students from the universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch. This is a testimony to our excellent standards and it is our mission to sustain the quality with the assistance of donors."
The new facility
The proposed three-storey paediatric facility will house:
- A paediatric outpatient department with adequate counselling and treatment facilities;
- A 56-bed children's ward with recliner for parents next to the bed;
- Dedicated play areas and outside courtyard;
- A purpose-built parent facility, including limited overnight accommodation;
- A 40-bed neonatal unit and Kangaroo Mother Care.
People who wish to make a donation can click here, or phone Blyth Thompson on 083 288 7288 or Rev Michiel Burger on 076 387 0886.
The hospital trust is a Section 18A (public benefit) organisation and therefore contributions are tax deductible.
'We bring you the latest George, Garden Route news'