Best practice

Healthcare provision has to be administered with patients in mind. When Steve Biko Academic Hospital’s staff arrive for work, it’s the first thing they think of.

The Steve Biko Academic Hospital is a tertiary healthcare institution, which provides a highly specialised range of services. Patients are referred to this famous and historical institution by their local clinics in South Africa.

The newly erected building, with its modern fittings and extraordinary array of cutting edge gadgetry, has proved a great success and, due to this formidable blend of experience and fresh impetus, it has produced some of the most impressive results in the country. None of it would have been possible, however, without the legacy of its previous incarnation. Time to step back in time…

History lessons

Long before the emergence of the Steve Biko building, the first hospital in Pretoria was in an old house near the military barracks in Potgieter Street. The institution offered 130 beds but, despite expansions in the early part of the new century, the hospital became too small for the growing population of the city. The brutal flu epidemic of 1918 underlined the need for a bigger facility and, after becoming dilapidated, the old building was replaced.

Patients and personnel occupied the new hospital on 14 March 1932. This momentous date began a magical mystery tour of different names, starting with the ‘Pretoria General Hospital’.

A ground-breaking faculty of medicine was established in 1943 and, combined with the hospital, formed an academic institution. At that time, during World War II, it was only the third academic health establishment in South Africa, and the sixth in Africa. The academic institution grew over the years to include other facilities such as the maternity Hospital, ear, nose and throat Hospital and the orthopaedic hospital.

In 1967 it was renamed ‘H F Verwoerd Hospital’. After 30 years of that exotic title it became ‘Pretoria Academic Hospital’. In 2008 the hospital finally opted for the Steve Biko Academic Hospital…for the time being at least!

Modern medicine

A relocation programme for the new Steve Biko Academic Hospital, began in 2006. It is now situated about 800 meters directly north of its former location. The old site is now called Tshwane District Hospital; a modern community facility with 200 beds.

Unique features of the new Steve Biko Hospital include state-of-the-art medical equipment with the total value of R442million. These revolutionary, state-of-the-art and life-changing resources include an MRI Scanner, two 64-Slice CT Scanners, digital radiology and a Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS).

The modern design of the hospital lends itself to functionality, efficiency and productivity. Theatres, ICU’s, X-rays and associated wards are located on the same floor, therefore being fully in tune with medical staff requirements and ensuring that theatre patients do not have to depend on lift transport.

Other notable facilities include the largest kitchen in South Africa (no more inedible hospital food!), 832 beds, 53 ICU beds, 21 high care beds, 61 observation places, 108 beds in the oncology complex, 22 theatres, 19 Lifts, 80 consulting rooms and a new computed tomography (PET-CT) scanner.

Steve Biko is also the only teaching hospital in South Africa that accommodates a hospital and the university clinical department’s offices in one building. This cohesiveness has galvanised communication between the sections and created very productive working relationships.

The staff are passionate about maintaining the inspiring philosophy that has been central to the institution’s success. Dr. Ernest Kenoshi explains: “We of the Steve Biko Academic Hospital are one in spirit, and have the vision of a bird in flight. We serve our community with dedication and vigour, ensuring a service of unsurpassed excellence!”

Well, with that sort of approach, it comes as no surprise that Steve Biko Academic Hospital expects to be in rude health for another 100 years.