In a momentous announcement, the Western Cape Department of Health and Wellness revealed the appointment of Dr. Shaheem De Vries as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Groote Schuur Hospital, effective from February 1. This decision comes in the wake of the retirement of Dr. Bhavna Patel, who had served the hospital for an impressive 23 years. Dr. De Vries, a highly accomplished medical professional, now shoulders the responsibility of ensuring the continual delivery of top-tier patient care and leading the dedicated team of nearly 3,600 staff members at Groote Schuur Hospital into an era of innovation, collaboration, compassion, and excellence.
Dr. De Vries’ impressive academic background includes a medical degree, a diploma in Primary Emergency Care, a Master’s Degree in Emergency Medicine, and an MBA from the prestigious UCT Graduate School of Business. His credentials, however, only begin to scratch the surface of his contributions to the field of healthcare.
Before taking the helm at Groote Schuur Hospital, Dr. De Vries held key positions, serving as the Director of Emergency Medical Services from 2013 to 2022, followed by his role as the Clinical Medical Manager for Emergency Medical Services from 2022 to 2023. His extensive experience and innovative approach to healthcare have played pivotal roles in these capacities.
Notably, Dr. De Vries is deeply passionate about African emergency care systems. He has been an active member of the African Federation for Emergency Medicine (AFEM) since its inception and even served as its CEO from 2017 to 2019. His expertise in this area extends beyond membership, as he has been sought after as a consultant for various African EMS systems and recognized by the World Health Organization as a pre-hospital expert in Emergency Care Systems.
The news of Dr. De Vries’ appointment was met with enthusiasm and support from various quarters. Professor Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape MEC for Health and Wellness, expressed well-wishes for Dr. De Vries, acknowledging his dedication and experience in the Department of Health and Wellness, which she believes will provide a solid foundation for serving the people of the Western Cape. She also expressed her hopes for Dr. De Vries to leave a lasting legacy, maintaining Groote Schuur Hospital’s crucial role in the healthcare system.
The Head of the Department of Health and Wellness, Dr. Keith Cloete, echoed these sentiments, asserting his confidence in Dr. De Vries as an invaluable addition to the senior leadership team. Dr. Cloete highlighted the significance of Dr. De Vries’ appointment in ensuring that Groote Schuur Hospital continues its legacy as a world-leading healthcare provider.
In response to his appointment, Dr. De Vries expressed his deep honor in being chosen for this prestigious role. He sees it as a privilege to serve as the steward of Groote Schuur Hospital, a symbol of their unwavering commitment to healthcare in the Western Cape province. He commended his predecessor, Dr. Patel, for her incredible legacy and leadership, acknowledging that he stepped into the role with immense respect for her accomplishments. Dr. De Vries is, however, excited by the opportunities that lie ahead and eagerly anticipate collaborating with the exceptional team at Groote Schuur Hospital.
As Dr. Shaheem De Vries takes the reins of Groote Schuur Hospital, the healthcare community eagerly awaits the positive impact his leadership promises to bring. With his extensive experience, commitment to innovation, and dedication to patient care, the hospital’s future looks brighter than ever, reaffirming its position as a beacon of excellence in the realm of healthcare.