Is the hospital open for patients?

Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) is not yet open to receive patients. Now that construction is complete, and the hospital is almost fully furnished, the next phase of getting ready for patients will start. This includes finalising clinical protocols and programmes, staff training and induction, implementing business processes and evaluating safety and readiness before treatment starts.

Treatment and services will start in phases to ensure safety and manageability. We are aiming to begin treatment in the second quarter of 2017, beginning with dialysis and radiology services.

Are there opportunities for employment at NMCH?

We are currently in the process of recruiting senior management of the hospital. All vacancies will be posted on the NMCH website http://www.nelsonmandelachildrenshospital.org/careers/ , LinkedIn page, select national newspapers as they become available.


Are there studying opportunities at NMCH?

Through the support of National Skills Fund and Nedbank, NMCH Trust has to date awarded 266 bursaries for nursing, and 10 for fellowships with an additional 10 candidates in 2017.

More information on available bursaries, criteria and application details can be found on http://www.nelsonmandelachildrenshospital.org/careers/

Partner institutions include Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, University of the Free State and Tshwane University of Technology for nurse training; and Wits University and University of Cape Town for doctors.


How will patients be admitted at NMCH?

NMCH will focus on the complex illnesses that affect children – namely, the different kinds of cancer; complicated illnesses that affect the organs; and many ailments that require surgery.

For this reason, NMCH will work on a referral basis, meaning that only when a doctors and facilities can no longer help a patient, and s/he needs highly specialised care, that is when they will be referred to NMCH – based on our areas of speciality.

Patients must be referred to NMCH by specialist healthcare workers that have been working on their case and who can determine that they satisfy the criteria for treatment at NMCH. We will use established referral protocols for all patients based on best standards of practice.

The referral process will ensure that the patients who need tertiary care most urgently will receive it as soon as possible.

What if I cannot afford to pay for my child?

NMCH will serve both private and public patients. Patients who have been appropriately referred to NMCH, and whose caregivers are unable to pay for treatment, will NOT be shown away. Private patients will be paid for by medical aid as normal.

How will you balance paying with non-paying patients, avoiding bias in favour of paying patients?

Financial status will not be a consideration for admission AT ALL. Only clinical criteria will be taken into account. Our referral and admission process will stipulate these criteria very clearly and strict supervision over the process will ensure that it is executed correctly.

Will NMCH help us with funding?

NMCH DOES NOT act as a funding agent for or donor to other institutions or organisations. Through government funding, it is however able to accept public patients.

Will NMCH offer special transport services for patients?

Families will be responsible for their own transport to and from the Hospital. In the case of referred patients that are too ill to travel, public or private medical transport will be utilised to transfer them to NMCH.

Will NMCH provide accommodation to families and caregivers of patients?

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) can accommodate 27 families in the Ronald McDonald House on the second floor of the hospital. This facility will be reserved for families who have travelled from far, and who will spend an extended period of time at the hospital. Admission will be subject to detailed policy criteria set by RMHC and NMCH.


How was NMCH built and how will it be run?

The total cost of constructing, equipping and staffing the hospital is estimated at R1 billion. Thus far the project has progressed on budget, having raised R880 million, most of which has been raised in South Africa.

The South African government has committed to funding the annual operational running costs of NMCH. Operations of NMCH will also NOT divert funding from government’s other healthcare commitments.

How do I know where my donation is going?

NMCH prides itself on responsibility, accountability and transparency. We take the duty placed upon us by the South African people very seriously.

We are happy to report that we have received a clean audit from the appointed firm PricewaterhouseCoopers since 2012. Our annual report is available on our website.


Who owns/administers/operates NMCH?

● Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund established Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust in 2009.

● Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust raised funds for and built Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

● Although now two organisations, the Hospital Trust remains custodian of the hospital, advocacy, as well as the fundraising and the brand overall.

● NMCH operations will be steered by the Hospital Board, which comprises members nominated by the Fund, Hospital Trust, academic partners and Government. The Board will appoint an Executive team (including the CEO, CFO and Heads of Clinical and Nursing Services) to take care of daily operations.

● The governance structure is designed to achieve inclusive representation of NMCHT’s strategic partners and ensure maximum and diverse skills representation.

How will you ensure that NMCH is successful? How will you prevent corruption and incompetence?

Responsibility, accountability and transparency are three of our most important guiding principles. All trustees, executives and appointments were selected for their credentials and relevant skills. Going forward, this approach to appointments will be maintained.


What is the purpose of this event?

This launch event was to showcase the progress that has been made since construction began in 2014. NMCH Trust also used the opportunity to acknowledge all those who have supported this hospital project..

This event was to celebrate the end of the bricks-and-mortar phase of the hospital, to mark the start of the people phase of the hospital as we prepare to take in patients. Above all, we were celebrating Madiba’s living legacy on the eve of the 3rd anniversary of his passing.

What is the way forward for NMCH?

● Finishing commission and equipping the hospital while recruiting staff.
● Fundraising continues as we wrap up our capital campaign, and start to build an endowment for future sustainability of the hospital.


What do you mean by "referral-only" hospital?

While no child will be turned away due to their inability to pay for the healthcare provided by NMCH, admissions will be through direct referrals from paediatric specialists only.

How can I get my child admitted to NMCH?

Your child must be referred to the hospital through your child’s doctors and/or specialists that have been managing the case.

If I am from outside of Gauteng and my child is referred to NMCH, who will cover the cost of transport?

You will be responsible for the costs to transport your child to NMCH in Johannesburg.

Is there any accommodation available at NMCH for parents from outside of Johannesburg?

Ronald McDonald House Charities will provide accommodation for a limited number of visiting parents to the hospital. More information will be available once the hospital is completed.

Will the hospital have an emergency room?

The hospital will have a small emergency unit that will stabilise and transfer patients to nearby hospitals. The hospital will provide specialised paediatric care on a referral basis through its centres of excellence, which are: Haematology & Oncology; Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery; Neurosciences; Renal; Endocrine; Craniofacial; and Paediatric Surgery.

What about primary and secondary healthcare?

Primary and secondary healthcare facilities will continue to be taken care of by the State. It was found that the biggest backlog is in the treatment of level-3 (tertiary) care for children. For example, at one South African hospital, there is an estimated backlog of 300 children awaiting cardiac surgery. This could result in some of them dying without this needed surgery.

How will the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital affect funding for other hospitals?

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) does not aim to compete with other hospitals – it will complement them and their work in paediatric medicine, and will not affect funding initiatives for other South African hospitals.

Who will fund the running of the Hospital?

Capital funding of NMCH will come entirely from donors, and once the Hospital has been established, its operational expenditure will be funded by the National Department of Health, through the Treasury funding regulations.

How did you choose the Centres of Excellence?

Research and consultation with various clinical specialists showed that the biggest gap in paediatric healthcare, therefore the biggest need, was in treating conditions associated with certain specialities. NMCH will have the following Centres of Excellence: Haematology & Oncology; Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery; Neurosciences; Renal; Endocrine; Craniofacial; and Paediatric Surgery.

If it’s for Southern Africa, why have the Hospital in South Africa?

NMCH will be in Parktown near Wits Medical School in Johannesburg. Gauteng is the hub of South Africa and many developments in Southern Africa. South Africa has among the best healthcare professionals in the world, and with the Hospital in Gauteng, it will mean patients have access to world-class health care through NMCH’s collaboration with other medical institutions. In addition, Johannesburg being the hub of South Africa and a gateway to the region means the Hospital will be easily accessible by public transport and by air.

Why have a dedicated children’s hospital?

Children’s healthcare needs are different from those of adults, and having a dedicated facility that caters for children (from neonates up to a 14 year old), as opposed to a paediatric centre in an “adult” hospital, means NMCH will be a child-friendly environment with an ethos focussed on a well-rounded healing experience for children. It also ensures that the Hospital is specifically designed and equipped for their needs.

How were the architects chosen?

Architects from around the world, with children’s hospital design experience, were invited to be part of an architectural design competition, where the most-qualified bidders were chosen to present design proposals. A panel of qualified professionals from various industries then scored them and the top four bidders were interviewed. The collective that was chosen consists of Sheppard Robson and John Cooper Architecture (both from the UK), working with GAPP Architects and Ruben Reddy Architects (both from South Africa). The collaboration with South African architects was to bring capacity to the local industry and ensure that it conforms to local conditions and meets statutory architectural requirements.

The hospital costs appear to be high in comparison with other hospitals. Why is this?

Tertiary services are expensive by their nature, and paediatric tertiary services are even more expensive. This is due to the high-tech equipment required to diagnose and treat children. The costs for NMCH are on par with international norms.

How will the NMCH be staffed?

Management: An executive team (consisting of a CEO, CFO, COO, Head of Nursing, Head of Clinical Services and so forth) will be appointed to manage the day-to-day operations of the hospital. This team will report to a hospital board of directors, which has already been established.

Clinical staff will be jointly appointed with the provincial Department of Health, and would be augmented, where required, by expertise from the private sector. Nursing staff and allied workers will be employed by NMCH. Non-core services will be outsourced to an appropriate hospital management company. The severe shortage of paediatric specialists and nurses has a direct correlation to the cost of training and retaining these professionals.

How will NMCH change the lives of children?

There are nearly 450 million children in Africa, and only four children’s hospitals – two in Cairo, one in Kenya and one in Cape Town. The children of Africa have limited access to paediatric care as it is, and without the NMCH, a countless number of children could die due to an inability to afford or access healthcare facilities.

NMCH will also create capacity in the region so that more children can be treated, the waiting lists will be shorter, and reduce the child mortality rate.