26 July 2022 Media Release: HealthNET Pilot Project Garden Route improves access to care

Media Release: HealthNET Pilot Project Garden Route improves access to care

For Immediate Release
26 July 2022

George Hospital and Western Cape Emergency Medical Services (EMS) introduced an exciting and new six-month project for patients from the Garden Route who need access to specialist investigations/treatments at tertiary healthcare facilities in Cape Town.

The HealthNET pilot project commenced on 11 July 2022 when an additional HealthNET vehicle started transporting patients between Garden Route and Cape Town hospitals, improving access to specialised care.

“Our rural location poses many challenges for our patients to access specialised services at our tertiary hospitals. Patient centred care remains a cornerstone of our service redesign and as such the addition of transport capacity to safely transport our patients from across the Garden Route to tertiary healthcare services in the Metro goes a long way in achieving our vision to provide the right care at the right time in the right place,” says District Director for Health, Mr Zee Brickles.

Jannie Israel with Clarence Stefaas (middle) and Colin Claasen (right).

HealthNET in Garden Route currently has two buses that transport 20 patients each, four days a week providing 200 patients a week with the opportunity to seek treatment at a tertiary healthcare facility in Cape Town and being transported safely back home on the same day.

“There has already been a noticeable impact on the length of time patients wait for discharge from Cape Town hospitals back to the Garden Route, which is encouraging,” says Michael Vonk, CEO of George Hospital. The outcome regarding discharges and waiting times of patients will be measured through data on the HealthNet system. “There is more than enough capacity to transport patients and access to planned transport should not be an obstacle for any patient to access specialist investigations and treatments,” says Vonk.

Fernando Erasmus, HealthNET manager for EMS, and all Emergency Care Officers pride themselves in the service they deliver. In fact, they are so serious about good service delivery that they provide compliment and complaint forms for patients in their vehicles and encourage patients to comment on driver behaviour in order to maintain a quality service. “We are very excited and we are doing everything in our power to ensure that this project will be fruitful and a success”, adds Erasmus.

Before the new addition of the HealthNET bus, complaints were lodged stating that there was a lack of transport for patients in the Garden Route to travel to Cape Town.  “Now with the new addition, there has been a huge improvement. Patients can get to their appointments in Cape Town on time and on the correct date to get the treatment they need,” says Erasmus.

END

 Nadia Ferreira

Principal Communications Officer

Garden Route and Central Karoo Districts

Western Cape Government Health

Tel: 044 813 1831

Email: Nadia.Ferreira@westerncape.gov.za

Website: www.westerncape.gov.za