For immediate release
8 February 2022
George Hospital is currently busy with Saturday surgeries to help reduce the waiting time for patients who require surgery as a result of COVID-19. During the pandemic, elective surgeries had to be postponed to free up resources and personnel within the hospital for patients who contracted the virus and who needed urgent care. It was also necessary to prevent the risk of patients contracting COVID-19 during their travel time or hospital stay. As a result, many patients have been waiting a long time for their operations.
‘Saturday surgeries are a new initiative that has been implemented at the hospital and will run until March. We have received additional funding for this purpose, which allows additional doctors and nurses to be contracted to make these operations possible. Some of the staff have agreed to volunteer their Saturdays to make the project a reality and maximise the number of patients who are treated. Some patients who have been on the waiting list for two or more years can now receive their surgery, these include Orthopaedics, Gynaecology, general surgery, Urology and ENT,’ said George Hospital CEO, Michael Vonk.
According to Dr Chanelle Changfoot (general surgeon at George Hospital), Saturday surgeries take place from 8:00 until 17:00 and usually all health professionals try and do as many surgeries as possible. ‘These are elective operations that have a major impact on the patients’ quality of life,’ she said.
Percival Rossouw (37) from Riversdale has been waiting for quite a while for his operation. ‘At long last I also have the opportunity to get the procedure done with and move forward,’ he said.
Patients would usually wait six to nine months for their non-urgent procedure or surgery but due to COVID-19, some have been waiting for two years. The type of surgeries impacted by COVID-19 has been non-urgent cases such as hernias, gall bladder surgeries, non-cancerous lumps and bumps that are growing, and hip or knee replacements. ‘It’s difficult for patients to understand why they have to wait. As a doctor it can be frustrating because you want to help everybody but unfortunately for surgery, you have to work in a team,’ said Dr Changfoot.
Renier Alberts (63) is another happy patient who underwent surgery on Saturday 5 January 2022. ‘I am glad my turn has come, and also to be able to receive surgery during the weekend,’ he said.
Caption: Percial Rossouw is one of many patients benefiting from the initiative.
Principal Communications Officer
Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts
Western Cape Government Health
Tel: 044 813 1831