Netcare, one of South Africa’s largest private hospital groups, announced on Monday that it is committed to working with Government and all other stakeholders to assist in containing and treating the pandemic.
“We have proposed to the national and provincial Departments of Health that Netcare will treat public patients in Netcare facilities,” Netcare informed investors on JSE SENS news.
“Given the exceptional circumstances and to ensure sustainability, Netcare will provide these services to COVID-19 related patients on a not-for- profit basis, seeking only to recover costs.
“Given our limited capacity, any referrals from the public sector will need to be assessed and pre-authorised by Netcare on a case-by-case basis.”
Netcare is fully supportive of the 21-day nationwide lockdown in order to ‘flatten the curve’ and lower the communal spread of COVID-19.
“However, our modelling suggests that, as has been experienced in other countries and depending on the effectiveness of the lockdown, it will require on-going evaluation to determine if the time period is sufficient to achieve its intended goals.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has infected over circa 723,000 people globally resulting in more than 34,000 deaths.
More than two billion people around the world are in some form of lockdown or self-isolation.
In South Africa, the situation remains extremely concerning given the levels of population density in certain geographical areas, a factor which is further exacerbated by the significant proportion of the population who are immune-compromised.
As we enter the winter season in which approximately 19% of South Africans contract Influenza or the Flu virus, the situation may worsen.
“Based on Netcare’s actuarial forecast models, the already constrained health system will struggle to cope with the looming and significantly higher increase in the number of patients requiring hospitalisation and ICU care.”
To fully prepare for COVID-19, Netcare said it was engaged on a regular, ongoing basis with healthcare colleagues across the globe, particularly in China, Italy and France in order to ensure the valuable but painful lessons learned elsewhere are fully implemented in South Africa.
“Netcare has adopted an ‘abundance of caution’ approach to ensure that our healthcare workers and doctors remain protected throughout the pandemic,” it said.
“As a result, Netcare has introduced appropriate measures, including relevant training of employees, as well as screening and isolating patients to contain the spread of COVID-19 across our entire network of facilities.”
Netcare has spent R150 million to enhance the readiness of its ICU/High Care facilities, including purchasing additional ventilators, ultraviolet light disinfection robots and specialised air filters to ensure appropriate disinfection measures.