Healthcare in Cape Town
The healthcare on offer in Cape Town is among the best on the African continent – perhaps only rivalled by Johannesburg's medical industry.
The city has a history of health research and innovation. Perhaps most notably, this includes the world's first heart transplant performed at Groote Schuur Hospital in 1967. The hospital still functions today.
While the city has maintained its spirit of medical excellence, these days, private facilities have eclipsed public hospitals in terms of service provision, staffing and the standard of equipment.
Expats will find a multitude of options available in both sectors, but it's recommended that foreigners emulate the local middle and upper classes in utilising Cape Town's private hospitals and the insurance that supports it.
Public healthcare in Cape Town
Considering that the majority of South Africa's population had little or no access to quality medical attention until the 1990s, the healthcare system in Cape Town has made great strides to improve its standards and serve the communities that need it most.
It follows that the public sector in Cape Town caters largely to poorer communities and the city's working classes, and lacks some of the creature comforts and privacy often associated with Western hospitals. Given that they are responsible for serving nearly 80 percent of the population, public hospitals are often under-staffed and under-funded.
Although some of the best doctors in Cape Town are employed in the public system, the long queues and a depressing environment often steer those with the means toward the private sector.
Private healthcare in Cape Town
Most expats moving to Cape Town will use private facilities. Basic consultations with general practitioners are generally affordable (around 300-400 ZAR) but costs can quickly escalate if someone finds themselves with even the slightest complication.
For this reason, it's highly recommended that expats take out private insurance. An assortment of local service providers offer different schemes; some are completely comprehensive, while others provide basic hospital cover for emergencies.
Private primary facilities, specialist clinics and full-scale hospitals abound in Cape Town and are easily accessed from nearly any location. Over the years this sector has taken over many of the tertiary and specialist procedures that used to be performed in the public sector.
Most healthcare professionals in Cape Town are privately employed and all of them are likely to speak English. The best way to find a good doctor in Cape Town is via word-of-mouth. It is worth consulting with other expats, local colleagues and friends who've had experiences with healthcare in Cape Town.
Recommended hospitals in Cape Town
Cape Town Medi Clinic (Oranjezicht)
Constantiaberg Medi Clinic (Plumstead)
Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital (Cape Town central)Tel: +27 21 480 6111
181 Longmarket Street, Cape Town
Other Netcare branches: Netcare also has branches in Kuils Rivier, N1 City and Blaauwberg.
UCT Academic Hospital (Observatory)
Tel: +27 21 442 1800
Anzio Road, Observatory
Life Vincent Palloti Hospital (Pinelands)
Tel: +27 21 506 5111
Alexandra Road, Pinelands
Life Claremont Hospital (Claremont)
Tel: +27 21 670 4300
Main Road, Claremont
Life Kingsbury Hospital (Claremont)
Tel: +27 21 670 4000
Wilderness Road, Claremont