From its humble beginnings, nested in the Cardiac Clinic in the 1960’s, the Division of Pulmonology has grown into a cutting edge clinically-orientated service at the forefront of internationally competitive research and academic leadership. There are five full time consultants Professor Keertan Dheda, Associate Professor Gill Ainslie, Dr. Richard Raine, Dr. Greg Calligaro and Dr. Greg Symons.
There are four honorary consultants who all contribute to teaching, training, clinical service, and capacity development (Emeritus Professor Eric Bateman, Associate Professor Paul Willcox, Dr. Richard van Zyl‑Smit and Dr. Rodney Dawson).
The Division has grown in stature under the visionary leadership of Professor Solly Benatar in the 1970’s and Professor Eric Bateman over the last two decades. Publication counts have progressively increased over the past three decades from approximately 85 publications in 1980 to 1990 period, to more than 60 publications in peer-reviewed journals in 2012 alone.
Members of the Division regularly publish in internationally recognised journals such as The Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, PLoS Medicine, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, Thorax, and the European Respiratory Journal, amongst others.
Academically, the Division is internationally competitive and has among its ranks several NRF rated scientists, and with its members serving on several editorial boards, including AJRCCM, Thorax, European Respiratory Journal, Lancet Respiratory Medicine , PLoS ONE, and Scientific Reports (Nature Group of Journals), but to name few. Members of the Division have been the recipients of several prestigious awards and sit on national and international academic bodies in their respective fields of interest. Several members of the Division serve on international and national guideline and advisory committees.
Interview with Prof Dheda
The Division of Pulmonology primarily serves the population of the Western Cape, but also renders specialists services nationally. The clinical service provides approximately 1300 OPD visits annually, conducts ~700 pulmonary function tests annually, undertakes 600 inpatient consultations, and contributes substantially to the care of 1800 ICU admissions annually. The Division has thus far trained 33 internationally competitive sub-specialists over the last 40 years, several of whom are high ranking international faculty. The Division of Pulmonology serves a spectrum of patients, including the indigent, refugees, and also those with private medical insurance who seek the expertise of members and services within the Division.
Clinical services provided by the Division include enbobronchial ultrasound-guided biopsy (EBUS TBNA), bronchial thermoplasticity, medical thoracotomy, exercise physiology, sleep medicine, a comprehensive suite of pulmonary function tests, allergology services (Professor Paul Potter), occupational health services (Professor Rodney Ehrlich), intensive care (respiratory ICU), and a comprehensive suite of pulmonary care clinics (airways disease, interstitial lung disease, pulmonary vascular disease, pleural disease, and cystic fibrosis). The Division also provides general medical services within the hospital and takes part in the general medical intake and on-call rota.
UCT Lung Institiute
The UCT Lung Institute (Pty) Ltd, is allied to, and an extension of the Division which houses four major research units led by consultants, all of whom are substantial or honorary consultants with the Division. The UCT Lung Institute also houses the headquarters of the South African Thoracic Society.
Outreach is provided to a host of hospital and clinics in the greater Cape Town area. These include:
Brewelskloof Hospital (Worcester)
Brooklyn Chest Hospital (Cape Town)
Gordonia Hospital (Springbok)
Mitchells Plain Hospital
Teaching and training
The Division provides teaching and training to under-graduate students, is responsible for training general medical and pulmonology senior registrars, and there is also an active post-graduate programme in which 4 several master’s and 6 PhD students are enrolled. The Division takes a particular interest in training clinician scientists and several physicians or pulmonologists have recently completed their PhD’s within Divisional research units. The Division contributes to the global health or training programmes of several national and international organisations, including the ATS, BTS, ERS, GINA, GOLD, PATS etc.