Partial Compromise Reached as Netcare Alberlito Moves to Maintain Downsized Facilities

Netcare Alberlito Hospital will keep its pediatric facility at a reduced size, but the delivery and neonatal wards are still due to close at the end of June next year.

This was confirmed by Netcare after a week of continued public outcry, including a well-supported protest on Thursday, against news that the hospital would close its maternity wards and childcare services.

The hospital’s position has since changed slightly to accommodate common ground with the specialists concerned after meetings between them and hospital management last week.

“This open consultation process represents a significant and collaborative commitment to reach a workable conclusion on how best to serve the interests of the community in the future,” pediatrician Professor Andre van Niekerk said in a statement on Saturday. from NetCare.

Most notable is the fact that a dedicated pediatric ward will remain, meaning overnight stays for children who would otherwise have been treated in the day ward will continue.

It will have fewer than the current 15 dedicated beds, but represents a significant change from the full closure originally planned.

However, planned birthing and neonatal care centers will still close, although this closing date has been moved from late April to late June 2023.

This is a full eight months from the date of declaration, which accommodates most clients who are already pregnant.

Gynecology and women’s health services outside of pregnancy will continue to be offered without change.

However, emergency obstetric care is still available and patients will be stabilized until they can be transferred to a more suitable facility.

For childbirth and neonatal care, Netcare has indicated that it would be willing to transfer the required license to a separate, independent facility, subject to approval by the Ministry of Health.

“The loss of the obstetrics department leaves a huge void in the community and it would be a perfect opportunity for a group to start a specialized facility. For most of us to stay in Alberlito, we would need to do gynecology alone, which would only be possible in a practice if the doctor has specialist skills. It would also mean we had to give up midwifery, something many of us started because it was a passion,” said an obstetrician and gynecologist in Alberlito who asked not to be named.

Netcare has reaffirmed its intention to support specialists where possible and it is understood that rooms will be offered to those who want them in the adjacent Well Centre.

Specialists will also have the option of moving to another hospital in the Netcare network.

“We remain dedicated to the Ballito community,” said Sara Nayager, Regional Director of Netcare’s KZN Hospital Division.

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