Netcare warns that some medical care 'may not be available to all patients at all times' as hospitals quickly fill up

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said on Friday that there were 11,777 new Covid-19 cases in Gauteng alone in the previous 24 hours, with 18,762 infections recorded across the country.

Netcare has warned that some medical care "may not be available to all patients at all times" as hospitals quickly fill up. File photo.
Netcare has warned that some medical care "may not be available to all patients at all times" as hospitals quickly fill up. File photo.
Image: Alon Skuy

Medical group Netcare said on Friday that it had increased hospital bed capacity, brought in more resident medical officers and tried to ensure it had enough supplies of oxygen and medication as Covid-19 cases continued to rise in Gauteng.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases said on Friday that there were 11,777 new Covid-19 cases in Gauteng alone in the previous 24 hours, with 18,762 infections recorded across the country.

“Our interventions are at all times aimed at doing the very best we can for all patients seeking care at any of our hospitals or clinics, while ensuring the safety o

f our front-line staff, doctors, nurses, paramedics and other healthcare workers.

“We have substantially increased our Covid-19 bed capacity, contracted more resident medical officers and clinical associates and made every effort to ensure that we have adequate supplies of oxygen, the appropriate medication, as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to last us through this surge,” said Dr Richard Friedland, Netcare CEO.

The group said there were “extremely high” numbers of people with Covid-19 seeking care at their hospitals, “with the numbers continuing to increase”. This had placed significant demand on their facilities, “requiring us to make decisions regarding levels of care and certain treatment modalities”.

“All these decisions are based on recognised international guidelines of triage, which means that treatment is allocated based on priority, and transition of care.

“Our clinicians, nursing and management teams will provide the best care available to our patients, but may not, in circumstances where the demand exceeds or overwhelms the capacity, be able to provide all treatment options that may be available in normal, non-pandemic circumstances.

“Our clinicians will make these decisions based on the availability of resources and their best clinical judgment. We fully support them in this difficult task and complex decision-making process,” Friedland said.

Practically, said Friedland, this meant that “levels of care such as ICU and high care, ventilators or certain oxygen delivery modalities may not be available to all patients at all times”.

The group said that it was vital that South Africans followed the guidelines and “be more cautious than ever”.

“Please remain vigilant to help protect your loved ones, yourself, and the healthcare system. It is critical for each individual to closely adhere to Covid-19 precautions including washing their hands regularly, avoiding social gatherings, ensuring that your work and home environment is well ventilated, maintaining social distancing, and always wearing a mask in public and when in the presence of others, to protect themselves and to help prevent the spread of the virus.

“We cannot emphasise strongly enough the need for all these precautions to be diligently followed, as every person has a responsibility to help ‘flatten this new curve’ to avoid contracting and passing on the virus,” Friedland said.

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