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UCT joins hands with day hospital

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UCT joins hands with day hospital

by Esther Lewis
12 Sep 2007
Peoples Post
Peoples Post

A shot in the arm is on the cards for Hanover Park Day Hospital. University of Cape Town (UCT) representatives met with the local health committee on Thursday, 6 September to discuss sending sixth year student doctors to work at the hospital.

Frank Molteno, Community Based Education Manager and Professor Derek Hellenberg, Head of the Family Medicine Division in UCT's Health Sciences faculty, says UCT is committed to forming an inter-active two-way partnership with Hanover Park.

Members of the health forum welcomed the idea of the students coming on board.

Reasons for their support include the fact that like many primary health facilities, this hospital is seriously understaffed and under-resourced.

"UCT is trying to broaden and deepen its scope of social responsibility and community engagement," Molteno says.

Part of the proposal includes student doctors bringing specialised services with them.

Having specialists available at a primary health care institution is a very rare privilege.

But under the watchful eyes of supervisors, the community will have affordable access to these services through student doctors.

"The only cost of the partnership to the community will be time and patience," Molteno says.

He explains that patients will probably spend a bit more time being examined by the students, but adds that this will be the community's valuable contribution towards the training of future doctors.

The community will not only benefit from the Health Sciences faculty, but possibly also from final year architecture students.

Their major project for the year is to work out how the space at the day hospital can be reorganised and extended so that it can be put to optimum use.

All of the actual technicalities, including costing and drawing up plans, are part of the project.

They also have to look at short term solutions, such as erecting temporary structures to create more working space.

While Molteno and Hellenberg feel both the long- and short-term expansion will definitely benefit the community, they stress that the plans can only be executed if they manage to get various departments such as the Departments of Housing and Public Works to come on board.

The only way in which the plans can be implemented is if funding for the project is secured.

But they say that either way, the research will be handed over to the community.

Hellenberg says it is part of the students' ethical responsibility to give feedback to the people they have modelled any research on.

They say students will not just walk away once the projects are completed.

The same principal applies to Hellenberg and Molteno. They give their word that Thursday's meeting would not be the last time they come to Hanover Park.

They plan to be actively involved and keep everyone up to speed on all new developments.

No time-frames have been given yet, but after the Health Committee's endorsement of their plans, the process can now be set in motion.

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