Private hospital group sets up task team in preparation for South African Covid-19 vaccines

 ·27 Jan 2021

Life Healthcare has announced the formation of a vaccine task team in preparation for the imminent arrival of South Africa’s Covid-19 vaccines.

In a voluntary trading update on Wednesday (27 January), the group said that the team has delivered a detailed operational plan for the vaccination of its staff, doctors, allied healthcare workers and other key individuals, within its South African operations.

The vaccine task team will continue to work in close cooperation with all necessary external parties, stakeholders and authorities, it said.

“The pandemic has put tremendous pressure on all the resources of the group. The group’s employees continue to perform extremely well under very stressful circumstances. We thank them for their ongoing dedication, their courage, their empathy and their tireless work in the fight against this disease.

“We also extend our deepest condolences to our staff , patients and their families who have lost loved ones as a result of the pandemic.”

Revenue bump

In its voluntary trading update for the quarter ended December 202,  Life Healthcare said that results exceeded expectations despite the impact of the second Covid-19 wave.

Revenue grew by approximately 5% on a like-for-like basis compared with Q1 FY2020 and approximately 4% over Q4 FY2020 (1 July 2020 to 30 September 2020).

Group normalised Ebitda continues to be impacted by the higher operational costs associated with Covid-19 resulting in normalised Ebitda decreasing by approximately 15% against Q1 FY2020.

Group normalised Ebitda for Q1 FY2021 was approximately 32% better than Q4 FY2020 given improving activity across the group in October and November.

The group said that its South African activities for Q1 FY2021 have been impacted by the second Covid-19 wave but showed good improvement on Q3 and Q4 FY2020.

December 2020 activities were impacted by the second Covid-19 wave with hospitals restricting and then voluntarily stopping elective surgeries to cope with the increasing number of Covid-19 patients.

Occupancy for December 2020, traditionally a quiet period, stood at 55.2% (54.8% in December 2019), driven by increased Covid-19 admissions.

Revenue growth in the southern Africa operations was approximately 1% below Q1 FY2020, and 6% above Q4 FY2020.

The increase in revenue was driven by the increase in elective cases in October and November 2020, the increase in Covid-19 admissions in December 2020, and a higher revenue per paid patient day, due to the continued change in underlying case mix.

Read: Here’s how many South Africans say they will take a Covid-19 vaccine

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