Glenn de Villiers brings a wealth of international experience to the role of Hospital Manager at Hillcrest Private Hospital and is determined to exceed patient expectations.
No matter where you are in the world, customer care is crucial to the success of any venture,” says Glenn de Villiers. “In our case, that means positive outcomes for our patients. Hillcrest Private Hospital is known for its client-centric approach and we are working hard to maintain that – from the moment a patient drives through the gates until they leave.”
After starting his career in the SA Navy, specialising in training and development, Glenn moved into hospital management, including stints at Empangeni Garden Clinic and Entabeni Hospital. He then joined International SOS, spending 14 years abroad in countries including Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, India, Mongolia and Russia.
“Working overseas poses challenges, both from a language and cultural perspective. After speaking in English, I would ask if everyone understood, and 20 minutes after everyone nodded their heads agreeing they understood, an elected spokesperson would ask me to repeat what I had just said. Hence it became important to get staff to verbalise what you were saying so that there was an understanding.
“My first day in Russia I was introduced to a client and extended my hand to shake his while in the doorway as we were entering is office. I was severely reprimanded … as hand shaking in the doorway in Russia is bad luck,” says Glenn.
Working in extreme weather conditions also posed challenges – the temperature in Sakhalin dropped to -25°C, and while in Ulaan Bator it dropped to -45°C. “In my first snow storm in Sakhalin, one day when I went to work the snow was 20cm deep. Four hours later the snow was hip deep.”
At the start of 2015, Glenn returned to South Africa to head up the team at Hillcrest Private Hospital. “It’s wonderful to be back in a country with infrastructure that works and to play golf on good courses again,” he says with a smile.
With thousands of satisfied patients and numerous awards to show for its efforts, Hillcrest Private Hospital is well positioned to grow. “We are looking to expand both the scope of our offering and the number of patients we can accommodate,” Glenn explains. “First on the list is a new theatre, which will allow us to bring in more specialists, primarily in orthopedic and vascular surgery. Our future strategy is to reconfigure the space we have, enabling us to increase the number of beds in our maternity, surgical, medical and paediatric wards.
“The greatest challenge we face today is a shortage of medical specialists. In order to attract medical practitioners, we are dedicated to providing top-quality facilities. We also have a comprehensive programme of internal development, training our staff in the relevant areas to ensure we can offer our patients the service they require.
“Our business is about people and it’s critical that our staff are focused on creating a positive experience for our patients. We are proud to have recruited some of the best staff – people who share our core values and our philosophy on patient service and outcomes – and we believe that is what sets us apart.”
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