Have you been wondering what the effect of the influx of tourists will have on our Health Care system and if we have the facilities and staff to deal with this increase? What happens if we have a medical emergency on a grand scale can doctors and hospitals be mobilised in time to deal with this scenario? Well I didn’t think so, but that was until Carte Blanche Medical covered a story about precisely this.

Dr Wayne Smith, 2010 Health Co-ordinator for the Western Cape, thinks so. What with 300 trained emergency staff joining their team, 45 new ambulances, two new choppers and available beds across all hospitals to be updated immediately to a centralised control centre.

One project in particular that has sent waves through the medical sector, is the newly designed mobile medical unit that turns into an eight bed ICU in about 45 minutes! Sounds very new age, first world country kind of stuff, don’t you think? The ‘Pod’ as it is referred to by the experts, carries its own oxygen, ventilation, cardiac monitoring, vital signs monitoring, suction units and emergency surgery can also be performed in the procedure room. These pods will be scattered around the stadiums and In the event of a disaster, patients will be evacuated to a casualty clearing station, whereby they will be triaged according to a scale colour coding: minor injuries , very severe, life-threatening.

Apparently they have already tested the pods efficiency during the Argus Cycle Tour and although there was only minor medical injuries to contend with, Doctors feel that the pods will stand up well to the rigors of the Soccer World Cup. Now let’s just hope that nothing major happens (touch wood).

To any travelers coming over for the world cup, I would just like to give you some words of wisdom with regards to the health care system in South Africa.

Firstly we have excellent hospital facilities within all major cities and surrounding suburbs. You will find that in rural areas the clinics and hospitals deal with primary health needs, and therefore do not offer the range of medical care that the large metropolitan hospitals do.

Our private hospitals are some of the best in the world and chances are you would be sent to one in the event of an emergency, but please be warned that good medical care is very expensive here and a patient generally has to prove that they will be able to pay for treatment before it is administered. A simple operation, such as an appendectomy, may cost approximately R15 000. It is recommended that visitors to South Africa take out medical/life insurance before leaving home.

By: Kerry

Ref: Carte Blanche Medical

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