Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre officially opens its doors

Medicross day theatre to offer access to procedures across many medical disciplines

Tuesday, October 10 2017

The new Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre in Upington, which first opened its doors to the public on 17 July, was officially opened recently by Dr Billyy van der Merwe, managing director of Netcare’s Primary Care division.

Pic "In attendance at the official opening of The Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre in Upington were from left to right: Charel Hanekom (general manager, commercial of Netcare Primary Healthcare division), Dr Billyy van der Merwe (managing director, Netcare Primary Healthcare division), Dr Erhardt Kidson (ophthalmologist), David de Villiers, (financial director: Netcare Primary Healthcare division) , Rina de Vries (theatre operations manager, Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre) and  Louis Roth (general manager, coastal operations of Netcare Primary Healthcare division). Photograph supplied by Gemsbok, Upington"

Purpose designed to blend in with the Kalahari landscape, the new state-of-the-art facility is a collaborative effort between Upington based ophthalmologist, Dr Erhardt Kidson and Medicross, a provider of primary healthcare services and a fully-owned subsidiary of Netcare, a leading South African private healthcare group. The custom-built hospital with its modern, cutting-edge equipment is the 15th day theatre to be opened by Medicross in South Africa and forms part of Medicross’ expansion into the day theatre market.

During his opening address Dr Van der Merwe said that the multi-million Rand development represented a substantial investment and a strong vote of confidence by Medicross and Netcare in the potential of the region and the support of its people.

“This new cutting-edge facility is the result of years of careful planning and is home to one of the most advanced surgical ophthalmic microscopes in the southern hemisphere. The Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre has two theatres where a range of day surgery procedures are performed, and a dedicated ophthalmology theatre equipped with special ophthalmic operating chairs.

The 16 bed day ward also has special recliners to accommodate patients undergoing procedures requiring spinal blocks or conscious sedation. The facility also incorporates two fully equipped consulting rooms for visiting specialists,” Dr Van der Merwe explained.

“Medicross and Netcare are delighted to extend its footprint into the Northern Cape with a partner such as Dr Kidson who not only has tremendous vision, expertise and experience but is also an intrinsic and valued member of this community.

“We are confident that the Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre will deliver excellent standards of service through the outstanding calibre of the participating doctors and specialists and the advanced equipment on offer here at the facility.

“The establishment of such a facility is synergistically aligned to our vision for Netcare’s Primary Care Division which is focused on delivering patient care of the highest quality at the most appropriate level of care,” he added.  

During the first month of the day theatre’s operation, the communities of Upington and surrounding areas including Springbok, and as far afield as Windhoek and Keetmanshoop in Namibia, have already benefitted from a number of healthcare services, which up until now were not readily available in the region. Because of the advanced surgical ophthalmic microscope and the reputation of the specialists who operate at the facility, patients are being attracted from as far afield as Gauteng.

Serving as a day theatre facility where some of the region’s foremost doctors and a number of prominent visiting specialists will practise, Dr Van der Merwe believes that the Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre will do much to improve access to quality healthcare services for the people of the Northern Cape.

The interior of the new state-of-the-art Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre in Upington. The custom-built hospital with its modern, cutting-edge equipment is the 15th day theatre to be opened by Medicross in South Africa and forms part of Medicross’ expansion into the day theatre market. Photograph supplied by Gemsbok, Upington


“As with all Medicross day theatres, the Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre aims to provide patients with quality healthcare service that is both accessible and affordable.  There is a global trend towards more surgical procedures being undertaken in a day theatre environment, while still providing appropriate levels of care to patients.

“Advancements in various innovative surgical techniques and equipment mean that up to 70% of surgeries can be performed safely in a day theatre, resulting in not only a significant cost saving for the patient but also an enhanced patient experience.

“Research furthermore indicates that patients feel better physically and mentally if they are in a less clinical environment. Our day clinics therefore steer clear of the high-care clinical hospital approach and instead offer a warmer and more comforting environment.

“The specialists, 17 general practitioners and dentist who have committed to practise at this modern day clinic will, on the other hand, have the benefit of a highly reputable healthcare support system as well as an excellent infrastructure.

“Building sound relationships with medical practitioners and supporting them with infrastructure and administrative services are considered priorities by Medicross, while continuous professional development ensures that healthcare partners remain abreast of the latest clinical advancements,” adds Dr Van der Merwe.

A range of surgical procedures, from minor to some of the more advanced may be performed in day theatres, either under general or local anaesthetic, spinal blocks or conscious sedation, as appropriate. These include G & C scopes and certain dental, ear, nose and throat (ENT), general, gynaecological, maxillo-facial, ophthalmic, orthopaedic, plastic and reconstructive, and urological procedures.

With 267 theatre cases having been performed since its opening, Dr van der Merwe says it is evident that the long-term impact of the Kalahari Cataract, Eye and Day Theatre could prove significant.

“Netcare’s Primary Care Division is proud to be associated with this outstanding facility. We look forward to seeing the benefit it brings to the local community and those in surrounding areas and hope to see it grow in years to come,” concluded Dr Van der Merwe.


Issued by:    Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Medicross Day Theatres
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville, Pieter Rossouw or Alison Sharp
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
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