Johannesburg: An Indian-origin doctor has taken over as the first woman CEO of a hospital globally renowned for carrying out world`s first heart transplant.
Dr Bhavna Patel took charge of the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, where Dr Chris Barnard carried out world`s first heart transplant in 1967.
Patel, who started at the hospital in 2005 as a medical manager, was Chief Operating Officer of the medical facility for two years before talking up her new position.
Patel said she planned to continue building on the legacy of her predecessor Dr Terence Carter to have the hospital at the forefront of innovation.
Her first step would be to reduce the long waiting period of between two weeks and six months for an operation, with patients being referred from across the country.
"The core of what we do is the provision of service. We need to meet the needs of the patients. We have a challenge of addressing the waiting lists for outpatient services and operations," Patel told the daily `The New Age` after taking charge.
The hospital has about 150 specialists and 1,500 nurses. Under the earlier apartheid-rule only whites were allowed in the hospital.
Patel holds two masters degrees - one from Stellenbosch University in family medicine, and one in bioethics and health law from Wits University in Johannesburg.