Leslie Williams Memorial Private Hospital, located near Carletonville on the West Rand, serves a local community as well as nearby Gold Fields mine operations.

As one of the largest gold producers in the world, with nine operating mines in South Africa, Ghana, Australia and Peru, the company is in an industry that sometimes, unfortunately, sees safety issues.

Gold Fields has seen an unfortunate number of safety-related incidents in the last few years, and in order to meet the Mine Health and Safety Council’s benchmark target for 2013 will have to drastically reduce this rate.

However, when someone is injured on the job, the company must take appropriate measures to make sure that that person received the utmost in medical care. This is where the company affiliated hospitals, namely St. Helena Hospital and Leslie Williams Memorial Private Hospital, come in.

Treating the local community

Miners in the local industry sometimes suffer medical injuries such as noise induced hearing loss, chronic obstructive airways disease, or cardiorespiratory tuberculosis. These are serious conditions, but are handled with care by the staff at Leslie Williams.

The goal: to treat patients from local mining operations and also the local community efficiently and with superior equipment—to keep them from being bedridden longer than necessary. The approach is built on an idea that patients heal faster when they have a focus on getting better, and getting out of the hospital.

In the heart of the communities they serve, Gold Fields Health hospitals offer, according to sources “world class private facilities, staffed by highly qualified personnel.” Leslie Williams and St. Helena provide excellent medical facilities for doctors and specialists in order to properly assess and treat patients. The hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art theatre and ward facilities, something that according to Dr. Mpho Rabada Leslie Williams is looking to improve further going forward.

“One of our goals for 2011 is to modernize the medical equipment,” he explains. “We’ve recently updated our CT scanner in order to improve the quality of our client care.” The hospital has an aim to become more client-centric, which means better facilities and infection control. “We want to improve our infection control policies and procedures, and ensure that when people come into the hospital they don’t get harmed,” he continues.

Better staff and technology to treat patients

Leslie Williams (and St. Helena) hospitals are equipped with state-of-the-art theatre and ward facilities, enabling them to administer groundbreaking research programmes, as well as superior surgery and health care. On staff are highly trained nurses and doctors. The hospital atmosphere is bright and airy and geared towards getting people better. According to Gold Fields, these aspects “aid patient recovery and increase overall experience satisfaction.” What’s more, is this personalised care and an empathetic atmosphere extends to the hospital staff, as doctors are treated as individuals, “and allowed freedom to practice good medicine.”

When Dr. Rabada thinks of goals and milestones, he thinks of growth, but not just in the traditional ways. “We want to grow not in terms of numbers but the intangibles—people getting well. The quality of health care is the most important thing, including those every day comforts like a television in a patient’s room,” he comments.

“We want to ensure that our outcomes are better than the year before.”

Working to achieve positive outcomes

The Leslie Williams facility is the only centre with an eye clinic run by an opthamologist in the Welkom area, and this clinic is “in line with [the hospital’s] strategy to be a centre of excellence” in particular programs, according to Dr. Rabada. The hospital has also run various programs geared to teach people how to get well, and then how to stay safe and stay out of the hospital—a strategy not normally adapted for private hospitals who charge daily for patient stays.

“We are primarily good in the surgical and orthopedic category with excellent nursing services and outcomes. We also are a centre of excellence for cosmetic surgery and the only hospital in Welkom performing such procedures with people coming from across the province to this magnificent facility. The positioning of the hospital is also away from the hustles of the city as it is in the outskirts to provide an environment of peace and tranquility which is priceless,” Dr. Rabada adds, outlining the incredible service the hospital provides.

Essentially, the hospital wants to treat people and have them “up and out as soon as possible.” The hospital treats local residents who have been in motor vehicle accidents and other serious issues. “We can give them speedy treatment.”

Leslie Williams has a training budget that is invested into their staff based on the needs of the populations they serve, and has a focus on the ongoing quality of health care. The hospital conducts regular internal audits, and those findings are aligned with training programs in order to adhere to the best possible health care practices.

A home away from home

Although financing comes from Gold Fields, which is clearly able to put forward the money needed to enhance patient care, it is the Leslie Williams staff who is committed to treating the patients better than your average hospital. “Our motto, unlike other hospitals who say the longer you stay the more you pay, is that we want to get people healthy as soon as possible,” says Dr. Rabada. The Leslie Williams operations committee continually evaluates the hospital’s programs and facilities, and deals with patient issues to ultimately, create a better environment. “Leslie Williams,” adds Dr. Rabada, “is simply more about medical expertise and strategy.”

From the hospital’s care of Gold Fields employees to the public community, Leslie Williams is more than a hospital. “Our focus is to replicate as much as possible the homely feeling ‘home away from home’ in these moments where you are most vulnerable and need to feel the ‘care’ from the extended family.”