Netcare Olivedale Hospital is based in Gauteng, in the growing city of Johannesburg, South Africa. The facility originally opened as a private hospital, in 1993, but has now passed into the hands of the Netcare Health Group. This group is the largest in South Africa and is trying to actively build on the country’s reputation as a tourist destination, seeking to add health tourists to the large number of visitors.
The hospital is a large facility with 263 beds and 11 operating theatres to serve the growing population of the city. Nelson Mandela was treated at the oncology department at Olivedale,1,2 and this facility also performed the first umbilical cord stem cell transplant in South Africa; it remains at the cutting edge of medicine for this type of procedure.3
The website is very well designed and contains a wealth of information about the services offered at the hospital, as well as some excellent photographs of the facility. There is also a lot of information on the site about the services offered to patients entering the hospital, although there is little focus on assistance given to international patients.1,2
Netcare Olivedale Hospital handles a wide variety of medical conditions and procedures, including orthopedics, plastic surgery, general surgery, dialysis, maxillo-facial surgery and neurology, amongst others. The hospital also has a dedicated counseling team to help patients and relatives overcome the mental traumas associated with major operations and procedures.1
The Netcare group strives to use modern blood conserving techniques in order to minimize the amount of donor transfusions needed.1 The main specialty of the Olivedale facility is in heart transplants, for which it boasts some of the best technology and most highly trained staff in the world.3 Whilst there are no figures for success rates for this hospital, the Netcare group, as a whole, boasts rates for transplants comparable with any other hospital in the world.3
Most of the recovery is in wards but there are some private suites available. Even the wards have a television for each bed and telephones are provided in the private rooms. The food is prepared with the advice of dieticians, and halal and kosher meals are available on request.2
There are a number of reviews about Netcare Olivedale Hospital, and they appear to be a little mixed. One report praises the surgeons at the facility for managing to save the life of a heart attack patient despite there being intermittent power shortages.4 Another reviewer was full of praise for the quality of service and professionalism shown by all the staff at Olivedale.5 The husband of one patient was very grateful to the staff after his wife was admitted for the day and given excellent care.8 The staff in the maternity wing come in for some glowing reports for their care of a premature baby with some health problems.10 Generally speaking, the professionalism and the attitude of the staff appears to comes in for a lot of praise.11,12
On the other hand, there are some less flattering reviews about Netcare Olivedale Hospital, especially the support staff. One reviewer complained about the rudeness of the staff in the pharmacy, although, to be fair, he may not have helped himself in this situation.6 Another patient was upset about the lack of transparency in the pricing structure at the hospital and felt that they unfairly added items to the bill.7 The attitude of a member of staff in the maternity ward comes in for criticism but the hospital at least had the decency to respond quickly to the complaint.9 In the interests of fairness, it must be noted that the site on which the comments are posted has received some bad reviews for trying to extort money from corporations.13