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WATCH: Inside ultra modern Cape hospital

Dec 02 2016 12:55
Carin Smith and Inga Mbambisa

Cape Town - The new flagship Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital will officially open its doors on the Foreshore in Cape Town on Monday.

It will form part of what is described as a world class medical precinct and centre of excellence and according to Chris Tilney, the hospital's general manager, it will offer a comprehensive range of primary, secondary and tertiary medical, emergency, diagnostic and rehabilitative services.

The old hospital in Longmarket Street in the Cape Town CBD, has been put up for tender, Michelle Morris, marketing manager of the hospital, told Fin24.

In July 2007, Netcare initiated a feasibility study to determine whether the hospital should be renovated or relocated. Morris said it became clear that renovating the old hospital would present considerable challenges.

The building housing the old hospital was originally built in 1969 as a commercial building and parking garage, before it was converted and opened as City Park Hospital in 1983.

The study indicated that renovating the 17-storey structure while running the hospital efficiently would have posed many logistical difficulties, as well as considerable inconvenience for patients, doctors, visitors and staff members.

By November 2009 a decision was taken to locate the hospital, and the search started for the location that would become the home of the new Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. More than 30 different possible sites for the new hospital were evaluated. Construction of the 16-storey building started in June 2013.

WATCH: Out with the old and in with the new:

READ: Netcare reports half-year profit rise

The total floor space is approximately 30 000m². The hospital will have 248 beds of which of 61 will be intensive care and high care beds. The building has the capacity to accommodate up to 375 beds in future. There are 11 theatres, two cardiac catheterisation laboratories, medical, surgical and paediatric wards, a maternity unit incorporating delivery rooms, a dedicated caesarean theatre and neonatal ICU, as well as doctors’ consulting rooms and eight floors offering public parking.

Paediatric ICU: The hospital's glass façade means that patients and visitors are able to enjoy the magnificent views of the harbour, mountain, or city scape, depending on where they are in the hospital. 

Morris explained that what makes the new hospital so great is the input that was obtained from staff, doctors and even patients in the planning and improvement process. The design of the new building is centred on flexibility and enabling expansion when needed in future. Its infrastructure can accommodate state-of-the-art technology, such as robotic theatre equipment. There is even a helistop on the roof of the building.

WATCH: The legacy of Dr Christiaan Barnard:

The medical disciplines offered at the hospital will include cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, orthopaedics, gastroenterology, gynaecology and obstetrics, internal medicine, reproductive medicine, paediatrics, nuclear medicine, radiology and interventional radiology, urology and robotic-assisted surgery for prostate, kidney and bladder cancer.

Provision has also been made for the construction of a radiation therapy bunker in the basement as part of the next phase of development. The adjacent building to the hospital - formerly occupied by Chevron - will be converted into a medical facility housing a day clinic, a sub-acute facility, a dialysis centre managed by National Renal Care, pathology laboratories, a Medicross family medical and dental centre, and facilities for physiotherapists, occupational therapists and other healthcare practitioners.  

READ: Clicks clears hurdle to run Netcare pharmacies

Tilney explained that the use of various green building elements played an important part in the design. Safety aspects regarding access to the hospital were also optimised. The building can even withstand an earthquake. The design also optimised the prevention of the spreading of infections.

The building, for instance, has what Tilney calls an "intelligent" exterior façade, comprising an external glass skin, with a void separating it from the building’s internal glass windows. This means that together, the internal glass windows and the exterior of the building act as a double skin, offering outstanding insulation to the interior hospital environment.

The void within the two walls can be ventilated when the building needs to be cooled down, or closed to warm it up by means of louvres positioned between the two skins on roof level, which can either be opened or closed.

The hospital is also equipped with a sophisticated grey water harvesting system, which channels waste water from the renal dialysis filtration plant and the autoclaves used to steam sterilise medical equipment, to the ablution facilities. Grey water harvesting and re-use is expected to save about 3 204 kilolitres of water a year.

An added unique feature of the new hospital is the visual displays about Dr Christiaan Barnard incorporated in the interior design.

View of heart sculpture:  "The gentle ripples in the plywood structure also suggest the waning of one source of energy, and simultaneously the latent potential of another. Ultimately, the sculpture expresses hope, the potential for recovery, and the systems of support that allow for healing to occur,” says sculptor Marco Cianfanelli.

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netcare  |  cape town  |  health
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