On Tuesday, 30 May, Western Cape Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, officially opened the Stellenbosch Acute Psychiatric Unit (APU) which forms part of several infrastructure projects underway at the hospital.
Currently, the total budget approved for this hospital work amounts to R35.925 million of which 28.6% has been spent to date, with the construction expected to be concluded by the end of May 2024.
The APU, which has been operational since February this year, contains four male and four female beds, as well as a four-bed seclusion area. With district hospitals originally not being designed to accommodate APUs, this designated area will greatly assist the hospital in addressing the growing mental health burden in the community.
In addition to this unit, a brand-new lift has been installed. Currently, the Maternity Ward is being upgraded and will be completed in the coming month. Thereafter, construction work will commence with the following:
- The Central Sterile Supply Department (CSSD) and theatre;
- The B, C and Children Wards;
- The staff and lecture rooms; and
- A new refuse area for medical waste.
Medical Manager of Stellenbosch Hospital, Dr Natasha Blanckenberg added: “Stellenbosch Hospital is an 85-bed district hospital with 205 staff members who work daily to ensure quality care. In the 2022/23 financial year alone, 7 715 patients were admitted, with 32 000 patients treated in the emergency centre and a further 18 332 out-patient visits recorded. During the same period, 713 operations were conducted in the theatre and 1 651 babies were born in the facility. Additionally, 300 patients were admitted with severe mental illness.
While these projects do not increase the number of beds, it improves the quality of the infrastructure to make it a safer and more positive environment in which to care for patients. This has ensured a beautiful and fit-for-purpose building that has a positive effect on staff morale.”
Minister Mbombo concluded by saying: “The addition of an APU and these infrastructure projects will revitalise this important piece of infrastructure. Stellenbosch Hospital services a feeder area of approximately 200 000 people where, as with all areas in the province, the health demands are increasing.”
During the visit, the impact of load shedding also became apparent. During the 2022/23 financial year, approximately R1.6 million was spent on diesel for their generator. As load shedding intensifies, our facilities are forced to divert much-needed resources to mitigate an issue that is external to their operations. Nonetheless, our dedicated staff and management are ensuring that the hospital continues to deliver quality healthcare for our residents.”
Text: Editorial Desk | Image: WCPG