General Medicine

About Us

General Medicine occupies an important position in the training of medical students and of registrars aiming towards their initial specialization, yet is very vulnerable to the trend for ever-increasing levels of subspecialisation. Accordingly our University has established a strong Department of General Medicine to work alongside the subspecialist departments of the Division of Medicine.

Our clinical service is centred on the medical wards of King Edward VIII Hospital, but is closely allied with the medicine services of the other metropolitan regional hospitals and with those of other large hospitals in the province.



A primary goal of the Department is, within the ambit of internal medicine, to work towards the establishment of efficient and robust relationships and lines of referral between the different levels of care of the provincial health service, vertically and horizontally. A parallel aim is to provide a powerful learning environment for our students and registrars, who spend the greater part of their time in our General Medicine services, in which they they may confidently develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours which will equip them for a lifetime of effective clinical practice. 

Clinical Services 


Six units operate at King Edward VIII Hospital. Four of these are headed by full-time members of the Department of General Medicine, the other two by members of our sister subspecialist departments in rotation. All six units are further supported by staff of the subspecialist departments in rotation. Each unit is assigned two registrars, two interns and fourth and final year students. 


The focus is on acute medicine. Patients are admitted directly from the Medical Outpatient Department (MOPD), which in our hospital is staffed by the Department of Family Medicine and offers a 24-hour acute emergency consultation service, as well as by arranged transfer from other hospitals in the Province. Patients are admitted into the Acute Medical Admissions ward (AMA) for acute management. Here they are assessed by staff, therapy is instituted, they are reviewed by consultants on the evening of admission and at a post-intake round the following morning, before being transferred to our wards. 


We have four medical wards for ongoing care, before patients are discharged, returned to their referring hospitals or transferred to the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital for tertiary care. 


A follow-up clinic is held daily for the review of patients recently discharged from the wards.


Head of Department 

Prof RJ Hift: MB CHB MMED (MED) PHD FRCP(UK) FCP(SA) 

Professor RJ Hift