UKZN’s Department of Oncology Now Accredited to Train Registrars
UKZN’s Department of Oncology has received accreditation for the training of Durban-based registrars from next year.
The Department now looks forward to expanding its services, recruiting more permanent specialists and registrars, engaging in active research and establishing oncology outreach programmes.
In 2017, UKZN’s Oncology Department in Durban suffered a mass exodus of oncologists, leaving it without any permanent specialists for more than a year, resulting in a loss of accreditation to train registrars; with those remaining forced to complete their training in other provinces. This department, based at the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) and Addington Hospital, is the largest and busiest oncology unit in KwaZulu-Natal.
‘It has been a tough and challenging journey and while I am proud of how far we have come, we still do have a long way to go,’ said the Head of the Clinical Unit for the Oncology departments at Addington and IALCH, Dr Shona Bhadree. ‘Over the last two years we have been able to catch up with the backlog of oncology patients awaiting treatment with the help of a dedicated team of medical officers and sessional private doctors.’
According to Bhadree, the Oncology department has in the last year recruited three full-time permanent oncologists and hopes to employ more in the near future. Under her leadership they have re-established all their multidisciplinary networks with the various departments involved in oncology care.
Bhadree, who was appointed Head of the Clinical Unit in 2018, said she joined the Department with the aim of helping to steer it in the right direction - to recruit permanent oncologists, regain teaching accreditation and most importantly, provide and improve the State’s oncology services.
During this time, she worked closely with the hospital management at IALCH to recruit staff and re-establish the medical and radiation oncology services. With the aid of the deputy director for radiotherapy in Durban, Ms Thabisile Hlengwa, they have been able to build up radiation services and have caught up with the backlog of patients awaiting treatment.
‘A teaching programme has been set up for junior medical officers in the Department and this will be expanded as we welcome our first lot of registrars in 2021,’ said Bhadree.
‘As a Department, we are very excited to be moving in the right direction. Being accredited to train registrars is very encouraging. It allows us to attract more doctors to the Unit, to reward our current medical officers with the opportunity to specialise, and provide the means by which we can sustain services in the future. The added opportunities for research and academic growth are very exciting for all our doctors,’ she said.
Words: Lihle Sosibo