The Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital has been serving the community for 10 years. The staff, patients and stakeholders share with the Plainsman what the hospital means to them.
The hospital, located in Lentegeur, celebrated their 10-year milestone on Friday April 14 where they also revealed a wall banner in the hospital’s common area.
Construction on the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital started in 2010 and the hospital opened its doors to the community in November 2013.
The need for district-level and specialist healthcare services in the community was in demand. People were referred and transferred to other healthcare facilities in the Cape Metro, said spokesperson for the Department of Health, Monique Johnstone.
At the time, Mitchell’s Plain Community Health Centre (day hospital) was one of the busiest clinics providing primary healthcare services to the community.
The hospital has impacted the lives of the community and its leaders, who have been calling for such a facility for the growing community for many years.
Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA) deputy chairperson, Michael Jacobs, has been a patient at the hospital.
“The minute I was admitted I was put into a ward and received the best medical treatment I believed that I could get when I had Covid-19,” he said.
“From the doctors to the nursing and support staff, my well-being came first and they left nothing to chance,” he said.
Despite some challenges, Mr Jacobs believes hospital staff are doing everything in their power to ensure that patients’ hospital visits are a much more pleasurable experience.
Pastor Franklin Williams, chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital Board, said he has been with the hospital for five years and is on the board for three years.
“Community workers and leaders are very proud of the hospital. I’m the first chaplain for Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital; it is a privilege. I’ve also done funerals at the hospitals so that families can receive closure for their loved ones.
“Thank you to the directors, it’s an honour to work with people,” he said.
The hospital has 800 staff members. The common health-related issues that are seen at the hospital are chronic illnesses, TB, HIV, mental health related to substance abuse, interpersonal violence and gender-based violence and malnutrition in adults and children due to poverty, said Ms Johnstone.
Evan Swart, chief executive officer of Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital, said he is proud to be celebrating this milestone with the community.
“I am proud to be part of a team that is constantly finding innovative ways to improve healthcare services, has a good culture, and is building and strengthening relationships with the community for the benefit of improving our services,” he said.
“All of us are the heart and soul of this hospital, it’s us who fill these hallways. It’s a tangible feeling of family, support and standing together. It’s important to preserve this culture and family. We’re in our childhood years. Since the inception of the hospital we’ve been growing to meet the needs of Mitchell’s Plain,” said Mr Swart.
“I am looking forward to improving healthcare services for the next 10 years and supporting the team in finding ways to decrease the service pressure and burden of disease in the community,” he said.
Some of the challenges they face are experienced at the emergency centre, the psychiatric ward for mental health, and surgeries for emergency and trauma-related cases.
“It’s how we choose to meet those challenges and how we can overcome them. We look ahead to the 2030 vision and continue to promote health within our communities,” said Mr Swart.
Former head of nursing and acting chief executive officer of Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital, Aletta Brown, said it was a long journey but “we’ve made it to 10 years.”
“We had wonderful doctors who stood by us. We’ve worked hard and learnt a lot and we give God all the praise.
“I remember how all of us who came from GF Jooste Hospital located each other in the hallway when we worked together.
“Hard work pays off, well done on 10 years,” she said.
Thorpe Koorts, director: project management for the provincial Department of Health and Wellness who was part of the team that helped build the hospital, said he remembers spending quite a big part of his life at the hospital. “It’s nice to see it come together like this. Congratulations.”
Margaret Kwaaiman, former assistant manager in nursing for Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital, said they’ve come a long way. “Seeing this hospital turn 10 years old is surreal and it’s still looking good. Dié is maar net nog’ n ‘Jooste’ op ‘n ander plek. All the complaints turned into compliments. We’re missing you a lot but we’re still with you.”
Patti Olckers, director for Klipfontein and Mitchell’s Plain substructure for the provincial Department of Health and Wellness, said: “We’ve come a long way and exceeded expectations. It’s lovely to feel the spirit that’s here.”
Historical events for the Mitchell’s Plain District Hospital:
• Successfully evacuated all patients when a fire damaged the emergency centre in 2018.
• Managing the first mass Covid-19 vaccination centre in the metro in Mitchell’s Plain in 2020.
• Partnered with Gift of the Givers to open the Freesia Ward to care for Covid-19 patients in August 2020.
• Dr Katya Evans (emergency centre medical specialist) developed the automated Covid-19 data electronic system to keep track of the Covid-19 cases in the hospital.
• Successfully treated 20 stab wound patients over a weekend in April 2023.