Statement from the joint media briefing by the KZN Dept of Health and Varian on the restoration of oncology services at Addington Hospital, Durban

12 June 2018

We herein decided to have this Media Engagement as means to inform you and the communities of KwaZulu-Natal that complete Oncology Services have been restored at Addington Hospital.

We also wish to state that there has always been Chemotherapy and surgical procedures on cancer patients in this hospital.

The Department has now successfully repaired one Linear Accelerator and also upgraded its software.

The Linear Accelerator received a full license to operate on the 5th of June 2018. On the 6th of June 2018, the first patient successfully received the first dose of radiation at Addington Hospital. The unit is now booking patients incrementally on to the system in order to optimize the utilization of the Linear Accelerator.

It is also our pleasure to inform you that the installation of the second new machine has been completed as well. Right now this second Linear Accelerator is undergoing commissioning which is expected to be completed in two weeks’ time. It is expected to treat the first patient early in July 2018.

We are indeed ready to resume with full services as we have also completed the training of staff on the new system.

We now also have Dr Nokwanda Zuma, the newly qualified oncologist who graduated as an oncologist two weeks ago after completing her training at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town – she is now based at Addington Hospital on a full time basis.

Further, we will be having Dr Shona Bhadree who will resume her duties as a Head of Clinical Unit at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital on the 1st of July 2018. She will be the overall leader and manager of the Durban Oncology services.

Indeed, this will augur well for proper coordination as Addington Hospital Oncology Unit will function as one unit with Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital oncology unit. How it is going to work is that new patients will initially be seen at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital and a decision be taken on where the patient will be booked for radiotherapy.

To further maximise the utilization of the Linear Accelerators, the Department is currently in negotiations with Wits Health Consortium to provide two additional Oncologists that will be based at Addington Hospital.

As we set the processes in place, we are also continuing with our efforts of headhunting and recruitment as we eventually aim at having a full complement of Oncologists that are employed by the Department. For instance Grey’s Hospital has one Linear accelerator and 3 Oncologists and is functioning very well.

With two machines at Addington Hospital we could have 4 Oncologists and add more patients thus reducing waiting time for those needing to be attended.

Lastly, with these developments in place, we would like to confirm that KwaZulu-Natal is now geared to assume a first or second place out of nine provinces with the highest number of Linear accelerators operating and functional in the Public health sector. The status in the other Provinces is as follows:

  • Gauteng – 6 Linear accelerators
  • Western Cape – 5
  • KwaZulu Natal – 5
  • Eastern Cape - 2
  • Limpopo - 2
  • Free State - 2
  • Mpumalanga - 0
  • Northern Cape - 0

The full complement of Oncology services in KZN is currently offered in this manner:

  • Greys Hospital - 1
  • Addington Hospital - 1 (+1) at the end of July
  • Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital - 3

At the beginning of July we will thus have a total of 6 Linear accelerators in the Province excluding the Private Partnership at the North

Over and above all this, the department recently launched and distributed 15 Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone (LLETZ) also known as loop diathermy machines.

The total number of hospitals that now have these machines in KZN is thirty two (32). These machines are used to remove all the pre-cancerous cells from the cervix. They have been distributed to district hospitals where patients that have been diagnosed with abnormal pre-cancerous cells are now being treated. This effort will increase the capacity of the department to prevent cancer of the cervix.

Help us to make our people understand that the key to winning the war against cancer is to get screened regularly for early and timeous interventions.

We welcome President of Varian and we look forward to a smooth working relation with him.

I thank you

MEC Dhlomo with Acting Head of Department Dr Musa Gumede and newly-qualified oncologist, Dr Nokwanda Zuma, who is based at Addington Hospital

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This page last edited on 17 January, 2019

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