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Press release - 27 October 2010

New private hospital to open in Piet Retief

Life Healthcare, with support from the town’s general practitioners, will be developing the first private hospital in Piet Retief. Built at a cost of approximately R48 million, the Life Piet Retief Hospital is expected to open before the end of next year, and will be predominantly served by general practitioners.

The Mpumalanga Department of Health has granted the group a 70 bed licence, but the hospital will initially open with 43 beds, enabling Life Healthcare to expand the hospital in future should there be demand for additional beds. It will be located on the main road to Pongola, across the road from the state hospital.

The Life Piet Retief Hospital will provide emergency, general medical, general surgical, maternity, paediatric, radiology and pathology services. The facilities – all housed under one roof – will include an accident and emergency unit which will be open seven days a week throughout the night, two theatres, two delivery rooms, a radiology unit with X-ray equipment, a pathology laboratory, a hospital pharmacy and sessional doctor consulting suites. There will be 13 adult general surgical and medical beds, 10 day beds, two ICU beds and one high care bed, a 10 bed maternity unit and a seven bed children’s ward.

Michael Flemming, managing director of Life Healthcare, says the group is looking forward to partnering with the doctors in Piet Retief to serve the community in the area with quality, cost effective private healthcare. It is expected that the hospital will also attract a large number of patients from nearby Swaziland.

“One of our group’s goals is to make private healthcare more accessible to communities in rural areas. Once the new Life Piet Retief Hospital is up and running, patients who are seeking private hospital care for conditions requiring general medical or surgical treatment, will not have the inconvenience any longer of having to travel 100 kilometres to the nearest private hospital, and neither will their loved ones have to travel the distance to visit them. Only those patients in need of specialised treatment, for example more complex orthopaedic surgery, neuro and cardiac surgery, will have to be referred to other appropriate high technology private hospitals,” he said.

Earthworks at the site have already started. It is estimated that the building programme will stretch over 12 months. Nick Finn, development manager at Life Healthcare who is managing the project, says: “The Piet Retief Town Council has approved the site development plan, and we expect final approval of the plans by the Mpumalanga Department of Health by next week. The construction tender has been issued and will be adjudicated by the end of October. The main contractor will be appointed in November, with construction expected to start shortly thereafter.”

Artist impression of the new Life Piet Retief Hospital.