Netcare sorry for illicit transplants

2010-11-15 12:07

Johannesburg - Hospital group Netcare [JSE:NTC] apologised again on Monday for the human kidney transplant scandal at its KwaZulu-Natal operations almost a decade ago.

"We sincerely and unreservedly apologise," said group CEO Richard Friedland at the release of the group's annual results for the year ending September.

Netcare was fined R7.8m last week after it pleaded guilty to unlawful surgeries in which human kidneys were illegally acquired and transplanted at one of the company's hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal.

Friedland said it was "not acceptable and we certainly don't condone it".

He pointed out that Netcare was now a very different organisation to what it was seven to nine years ago, when the illegal transplants took place.

"We now have policies and procedures necessary to ensure something like this doesn't happen again."

Of the group's performance, he said: "It's been a challenging year in both economies" but that the group had delivered a solid performance in both its South African and UK markets.

The rand's strength in the past year had a significant impact on the results.

"Currency conversion had a major impact on both the year-end results and financial position of the group, due to the prevailing strength of the rand relative to the pound sterling during the year," the annual report read.

"The average exchange rate used for converting income and expenditure was R11.63 to the pound compared to R13.73 in the prior year, a change of 15.3%."

Revenue grew in the UK and South Africa when measured in the local currency.

However, due to rand strength, the group's revenue decreased by 3.3% to R22.474m compared to the previous year.

Friedland said a stand-out feature of the South African set of results was the return to profitability of its primary healthcare division.

He also pointed out that Netcare had contributed about R16m to helping out during the public sector strike in August to September.

Netcare, South Africa's largest hospital group, reported a 26% rise in full-year profit, helped by a robust performance at its South African unit, where it remains optimistic about the outlook.

It also runs hospitals in Britain.

The company said headline earnings per share totalled 98.7 cents in the year to end-September compared with 78.2c a year ago.

Demand for private healthcare in South Africa has increased in recent years as a fast-growing middle class signs up for health insurance, but recessions in both South Africa and Britian have hit self-funded treatments.



  • Ex patient - 2010-11-15 12:39

    Sorry......or sorry you got caught?

  • anonymous - 2010-11-15 12:52

    Apologize? is that all they can do. They should be fined heavily and that money should be spent towards improving healthcare services

  • Robert Kay - 2010-11-15 13:15

    So now that they have been caught out, they are very sorry. Will never happen again. New systems in place. Didn't realise what was going on etc. etc. Amazing how these apologies come about when it's all to late. At the time good money was made no one bothered about any guilt feelings. the health sector has gone to pots. It's all about money money and more money. And to get more they will do anything. Sickening!

  • Brian Sim - 2010-11-15 13:21

    I think it is scandalous after all their protests of innocence that now they can just cough up some money and say "sorry". What about the doctors who were also involved and are now being hung out to dry with no supprt from Netcare who was their emplyer at the time???

  • vincent - 2010-11-15 13:23

    This fine is tool leanient. Netcare charges patients a huge amount on patient care. Eg. Higher Care in hospital is R12500.OO PER/DAY , Intensive Care R25000.00 PER/DAY.And If you don't have medical aid you go to goverment hospitals. You have to pay first if you want any sort of treatment be it casualty or in hospital.Netcare asks you for deposit upfront depending on treatment or number of days in hospital ,this could amount to - + R60 000.00. Nedcare should pay 50% of its annual group turnover for this fine to the SA tresuary.

  • Adele Michalowsky - 2010-11-15 14:10

    "Sorry" and an admission of guilt?! At least your shareholders, Richard Friedland, didn't lose too much money, and that, after all, is what your company is all about isn't it? You say that Netcare is a very different organisation now than what it was, seven to nine years ago - does that mean your hospitals were not ethical then?! What your company did is beyond unethical - in fact, there is no word disgusting enough to describe your behaviour re the illegal kidney transplants! Dr Mengele is dead, but you would make an excellent incarnation of him! If I were you, Richard Friedland, I would fall on my sword out of shame, but, since you apparently don't have a conscience to speak of, you are neither Roman, nor good, this is not an option for you. You bring shame and disgrace on the private hospital system, which, at the best of times, is questionable.

  • FastFred - 2010-11-15 14:38

    I think Netcare is a great hospital, with good affordable and reliable service. I think this is a storm in a teacup, I believe some individuals took advantage of the situation. No hospital group in their right mind will condone such actions by individuals. I see some ANC cadres crying foul off the sidelines, they obviously pushing their own agenda! We need decent health care, I just can’t see the government with their track record providing us with a viable alternative!

  • tbone - 2010-11-15 15:02

    They are only apologising because they got caught!

  • Jeremy - 2010-11-15 15:32

    I donated a kidney to a friend 2 years ago (in Durban). The process was exceptionally professional & well managed. However, Netcare & the professionals concerned should be utterly ashamed of themselves!! But I somehow doubt they give a damn.

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