OUR PATIENTS (AND OUR PRINCIPLES) COME FIRST

Mediclinic Southern Africa’s new CEO Greg van Wyk is unequivocal about two things: putting our patients at the centre of the business and upholding the ethics that underpin his leadership approach. He explains why.

If I think about how I would choose to define myself, honesty is where I’d start. Business is about relationships, and honesty and openness is the bedrock of relationships – even more so in healthcare. That’s why I’m proud of Mediclinic’s firm and honest commitment to providing the best possible care to our patients.

Honesty

Given that honesty is a core ethic throughout our business, that means being honest with ourselves too. We monitor our clinical outcomes data closely, and conduct comprehensive surveys to measure patient experience in our hospitals. We’re also transparent about our performance; we publish this data on our digital platforms, the aim being to help us understand how we can improve our service on every level – and serve our patients even better.   

Empathy

In healthcare, our purpose and reason for existence is to enhance quality of life. I feel that for us to achieve this, we need to grow our empathy even more – reaching into other people’s circumstance and seeing things from their perspective. A key focus area for me is to find ways for our employees to really understand how to be more empathetic – both with each other and with those for whom they are caring. We want to create those moments where patients feel reassured, safe, and cared for.

We demonstrate this approach in the larger community as well. For many years, Mediclinic has partnered with hospitals in the public sector, working together with local and national departments of health to perform a series of life-changing pro bono surgeries. This means performing cataract surgery allowing people to return to earning a living, tonsillectomies so children don’t have to miss school due to illness, and assisting with prostate surgery to ensure patients don’t have to wait for vital cancer surgery. These are practical examples of how we can change lives.

We remain committed to these collaborations, which provide opportunities to interact with and support our colleagues in the state sector and develop solutions for the challenges the country’s healthcare sector faces.

While some may despair of solving these challenges, I firmly believe nothing in life cannot be overcome. I grew up during the height of apartheid, which of course prevented people from accessing opportunities for growth. My parents and grandparents may have been working in fairly menial circumstances, but they worked hard at being the best in what they did. So I grew up with an absolute belief that there is a way to overcome whatever life throws at you.

Greg van Wyk, CEO of Mediclinic Southern Africa.

Curiosity

Part of overcoming life’s hurdles is to remain curious about new, better ways of thinking and doing things. As an individual I’ve always embraced learning activities, and active curiosity and constant learning are encouraged at Mediclinic. Even if innovation is sometimes uncomfortable, it is necessary –  it’s what makes us grow and drives positive change.

Mediclinic is proud of our legacy at the forefront of many transformative initiatives. These include identifying small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) with diverse and inclusive ownership supporting newly qualified doctor initiatives. We also foster constructive relationships with provincial departments of health to alleviate surgical backlogs at state hospitals. In addition, Mediclinic has a long history of world-leading achievements that have brought acclaim to our hospitals, doctors and nurses – and benefited our patients.

Another area in which we’ve innovated has been our commitment to environmental sustainability. Mediclinic began investing in solar energy as early as 2008, and was the only hospital group to be A-listed by the non-profit Carbon Disclosure Project in 2017. We’ve begun the process of making all our 52 hospitals across Southern Africa carbon-neutral by 2030, with innovative plans to manage our power, waste and operational requirements in a truly sustainable way.

Collaboration

When I consider what Mediclinic has already achieved and plans to achieve, I can’t overstate the role of collaboration. As people and as businesses, we achieve so much more by working together than on our own. Collaboration requires respect for your partners, which in itself is a very empowering thing.

To succeed, we need to recognise that other voices, opinions, and approaches can work wonders when we allow them to. Potential exists all around us. It’s about knowing when to speak, and when to listen.

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