Saturday Surgeries set for third successful run

Western Cape Government Health

Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital will run its third successful Saturday Surgeries initiative between September 7 and October 26. The project will alleviate waiting lists for Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) and General Paediatric Surgeries, some of which are six-months long.

In his address the Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, invited private sector companies to come forward to support similar projects at other hospitals. “We are setting a new trend. The Saturday surgeries initiative is an excellent example of partnership. It is a demonstration of government and the private sector taking responsibility together, despite challenges. We are not walking away from the challenges, but making a plan to overcome the challenge, because the cause is greater.

“The project is a winning solution for all. I would like to see a similar initiative at our other hospitals where we have surgery backlogs, and invite private health care to make a proposal.”

New donors have come on board for the project which in 2011 and 2012 was sponsored by the Children’s Hospital Trust.

“Thanks to a generous donation by Gift of the Givers, the Hospital Facility Board has been able to fund this awesome initiative to reduce surgery waiting lists at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital,” said board member, Prof. Allie Moosa.

Medical manager, Dr Anita Parbhoo, said: “Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital is well known nationally and internationally for the complex surgical procedures performed on children from all of the surgical specialties. Performing these intricate, time consuming operations often leads to the cancellation of many of the patients with minor surgical conditions due to time constraints and pressure on available bed space beds.”

“The idea with this surgical waiting list Initiative is that once a big volume of these relatively minor cases are taken off the waiting list, there would be scope for more flexibility for theatre lists during the week. More complex cases which are also a priority could then be given some additional time created by the reduction in the waiting lists.”

The Day Surgery Unit, which is closed on weekends, will be opened on Saturdays for the duration of the project. This will ensure that the initiative will not have any negative impact on other patients requiring beds over the weekend. Operations scheduled for this year include inguinal and umbilical hernias, excision of lumps and bumps, Orchidopexies, excision of ingrowing toenails, release of tongue ties and many others.

“Such cases should not be postponed too long,” Dr Parbhoo said. “Long waiting times for ENT surgery can lead to complications that require more complex care including intensive care admissions and additional outpatient visits.

“There is currently a six-month waiting lists for tympanoplasties and Adenotonsillectomies.”


Orchidopexy: This is an operation performed to relocate the testes from an abnormal position (a congenital anomaly) to a normal position within the scrotum. Whilst this surgery is not lifesaving, the condition still needs correction as there are both fertility and psychological implications.

Hernias: A small defect in the abdominal wall that needs closing and has the potential to complicate by trapping bowel in it and cutting off the blood supply.

Tympanoplasties: Repairs to defects of ear drum

Adenotonsillectomy: The surgical removal of the adenoids and tonsils