The Surgeon General of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF), Lieutenant General Aubrey Sedibe, wants the mindset of SA Military Health Service (SAMHS) members to be that of “health warriors serving the brave”.
He was speaking during the keynote address at this week’s SAMHS academic and research conference, attended by more than 200 healthcare professionals and providers in the fourth arm of service of the SANDF.
Sedibe urged delegates to accept the challenge and responsibility of improving healthcare. This, he said, stems from advances made in evidence-based healthcare with the final test of putting evidence-based healthcare into everyday practice.
According to him information, whether acquired by reading, studying or from attending conferences and symposia, was key to improving healthcare quality.
“If we are not adequately armed with information we will not be able to be proper health warriors serving the brave, the important task of SAMHS.
“Improving healthcare quality refers to the process of making the necessary changes in our clinics, sickbays and hospitals in such a way that a different level of performance is reached and better outcomes achieved.
“Improving healthcare quality involves technical competence, access to services, effectiveness, inter-personal relations, efficiency, continuity, safety and amenities,” the military’s top medic said adding healthcare providers such as doctors and nurses needed management support.
Sedibe told delegates at the SAHMS Military Health Training Centre in Thaba Tshwane patients did not care about “organisational developments or rules”.
“They view a good quality service as one meeting their perceived healthcare needs. Patients focus on effectiveness, accessibility, inter-personal relations and continuity as the most important dimensions of quality.”
To meet the challenge he wants to see military medical health members at all levels investing in personal development, spending time doing research, promoting teamwork and consulting people with experience.
If this is done on an ongoing basis Sedibe sees SAMHS achieving a balance in healthcare that offers not only clinically effective and evidence-based care but which “also judged by patients as acceptable and beneficial”.