Obstacles to McCord takeover removed

2013-09-28 00:00

McCORD Hospital in Overport, Durban, could reopen soon.

That was the message yesterday after negotiations between the provincial Health Department and the hospital board of directors reopened with the aim of bringing about a 100% takeover of the hospital by the province.

Two stumbling blocks to the reopening of the hospital have been removed, said the hospital’s medical manager, Dr Jay Mannie, representing the hospital staff.

“Firstly, the Health Department will take over all the buildings and, secondly, the money from medical claims will no longer be held by the board, but by an independent assessor appointed by the Health Department.”

Mannie said the hospital would have to remain closed until an interim agreement had been signed by the two parties, otherwise it would be operating without a licence. Prior to the hospital reopening, Mannie said there would be a stock take and also a clean-up operation.

Earlier in the week, an interim interdict issued by the Labour Court on behalf of the National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union and three other unions prevented the board from retrenching staff. The court order is effective until October 9.

The IFP welcomed the reopening of negotiations.

“It is vital that the hospital stays open as it services many of Durban’s poor and indigent,” said MP Hilda Msweli. “Its closure would not only leave many staff unemployed, but would also greatly hinder medical service delivery in the area and place undue pressure on the area’s other medical facilities.”

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