McCord: protesting staff keep on helping patients despite ‘closure’

2013-09-21 00:00

“HOOT to save McCord” read the placard and the majority of motorists passing the entrance to Durban’s McCord Hospital yesterday morning sounded their horns in response.

The placard was one of several displayed by hospital staff protesting on the corner of Peter Mokaba and McCord roads, Overport, after the hospital’s lawyers said the 104-year-old facility would be closed from 8 am yesterday.

However, it appeared to be a case of closed but not closed.

“Patients are coming in and we are helping them,” said the hospital’s switchboard operator, responding to a telephone call from Weekend Witness.

“We as staff do not accept the closure,” said the hospital’s medical manager Dr Jay Mannie, representing the hospital staff. “And we do not want to jeopardise people’s lives.”

Mannie said the hospital remained open for emergency patients.

“The hospital is not closed,” insisted Dudu Ngidi, a nursing sister at the hospital and a National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union representative, who was with the protesting staff members. “We have taken a vote of no confidence in the hospital board due to its failure to sustain the hospital without consulting our members.”

According to Mannie, at a meeting held yesterday morning, a petition was drawn up expressing no confidence in the board and calling on board members to resign. The petition also proposes the appointment of an interim board.

Mannie said the staff and the union members supported the government’s plan to buy out the state-aided private hospital.

Comment was sought from Derek Redfern of Redfern and Findlay Attorneys, who is representing the hospital board, but contact had not been made at the time of going to press.

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