Dr Waddington bids False Bay Hospital farewell

False Bay hospital’s former manager for medical services, Dr Wendy Waddington, in front, with False Bay Hospital staff members, from left, assistant director of finance Sharon Levy, information officer Reve Lemeney, dentist Dr Lynne Steenkamp-Collison and social worker Marion Thomas.

False Bay Hospital’s manager for medical services, Dr Wendy Waddington, has bid the hospital farewell after 17 years.

She started her new position at the Chief Directorate: Strategy, at the head office of the Western Cape Health Department, on Monday May 3 and will be working in the provincial assurance directorate and supporting the medico-legal unit.

Dr Waddington said she wanted to thank the far south community for their support and it was an honour and privilege to serve them.

She obtained her MBChB degree from UCT in 1984 and started working at Groote Schuur Hospital’s emergency unit.

“As a young doctor, some of the emergencies were quite scary, but we had such amazing support which made it a positive experience. I loved it there,” she said.

She went on to specialise in obstetrics and gynaecology and qualified as a gynaecologist in 1991 and ran a private practice in the far south until 2001.

However, her interest in mental health took her to New Zealand where she participated in a four-year psychiatry training programme.

Upon her return to South Africa, she was appointed as a medical officer at False bay Hospital where she was able to practise her skills in gynaecology and psychiatry for nine years.

From there she was promoted to medical services manager.

“False Bay Hospital is a special place to work. Being so closely involved with the community provided me with great job satisfaction, and I got to know and work with so many community members,” she said.

She said optimising systems within False Bay Hospital to ensure patient safety and the wellbeing of staff during the Covid-19 pandemic had probably been the biggest challenge of her career, and she had enjoyed wonderful support from the management team and staff at the hospital.

“The community supported the staff at False Bay Hospital unstintingly through the pandemic, and I thank them for their patience and understanding as we move forward,” she said.

The newly appointed manager of nursing at False Bay Hospital, Bianca Tyutu, said it was an honour and pleasure to work with someone as exceptional and dedicated as Dr Waddington. She had made a significant contribution to False Bay Hospital and would be sorely missed, she said.

“Her guidance and support is much appreciated, and I wish her well as she takes up her new role at head office,” she said.

The chairman of the False Bay Hospital facilities board, Dr Peter Jacka, said that when the Covid-19 pandemic had struck last year the hospital and staff had been under enormous stress.

Dr Waddington had shown great leadership during a difficult time and he believed her vision and management had saved the hospital.

“She has been a tower of strength and was essentially the backbone of the board,” he said.

Department of Health spokesperson, Natalie Watlington, said Mr Warren Caesar, currently the facility manager at Du Noon Community Health Centre, assumes duty as acting head of False Bay Hospital on Monday May 17 until a new permanent head is recruited.

“A warm thanks is extended to Dr Waddington for her significant contributions to the health system in the far south. We wish her well in her new and challenging role to strengthen important cross-departmental clinical governance and quality programmes,” she said.