Groote Schuur Hospital, Gift of the Givers on a mission to clear surgery backlog

The NGO has challenged South Africans and businesses to match its R5 million donation to the Surgical Recovery Project - in order to ensure these operations can happen and patients' well being can be restored.

Groote Schuur Hospital has partnered with Disaster relief organisation Gift of the Givers to cut back on the hospital’s surgical backlog of more than 6,000 cases. Picture: Kevin Brandt/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Groote Schuur Hospital has teamed up with disaster relief organisation, Gift of the Givers, to cut back on a surgery backlog of more than 6,000 cases.

The NGO has challenged South Africans and businesses to match its R5 million donation to the Surgical Recovery Project - in order to ensure these operations can happen and patients' well being can be restored.

The hospital needs around R15 million to perform at least 1,500 surgical procedures.

Head of general surgery, Professor Lydia Cairncross, said the hospital's E4 surgical ward had to be converted to create space for COVID-19 patients - and they hoped they would be able to pivot it back for much-needed surgeries.

"We hope to run 500 theater lists over one year, providing 1,500 to 2,000 operations to deserving patients. At R15 million for the year, this means for every R10,000 donated, we can do approximately one operation, changing the life of an individual and their family and those loved ones that depend on them."

Gift of the Givers Imtiaz Sooliman supports this plan and said hospital management had a clear plan of how they would tackle the issue.

"Which cases are they going to open, how many cases are they going to do, how many a week, how many a year, how much is it going to cost - all of that information was given to us in 48 hours. This means we have a team that is forward thinking, so a team like that should be supported. They're now creating a template that other hospitals in the country can follow.

The facility is expected to have the additional surgical team that will focus on these procedures assembled by the beginning of May.