KZN Health to buy St Aidan’s Hospital, despite McCord hiccup

2013-09-10 00:00

AS the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department encounters hiccups in taking over the McCord Hospital, moves are at advanced stage to buy the St Aidan’s Hospital in the Durban CBD.

The private hospital, started as a missionary hospital for Indians and officially opened in June 1916, has been leased by the department from the Anglican Church since April 2004. The department had previously anticipated taking over the hospital last month, but it was not to be.

The hospital is best known for its eye unit where cataracts, sudden loss of vision, infective conditions, inflammatory conditions and increased eye pressure are treated.

Speaking to the health portfolio committee last week, Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said: “A decision was taken by the Health Department that we will buy St Aidan’s Hospital. We have actually agreed and the diocese is agreeable to that,” Dhlomo said.

“What is left is to find a common price. The evaluator is to come in there [because] we have a bit of a difference,” he said.

He said since the department and the Anglican Church had agreed on the sale of the hospital, there would be a month-to-month lease agreement for the hospital until the transaction was concluded.

“We think in the next few months, we should be able to finish the issue of a price for St Aidan’s Hospital and get it as a government hospital,” Dhlomo said.

He had already met with staff at the hospital to inform them about the purchasing of the hospital and assure them about job security.

Dhlomo said days before the portfolio committee meeting that some union members were panicking about the delays in the purchase of the hospitals.

Dhlomo’s announcement came amid the halting of talks between the department and McCord Hospital at Overport in Durban, which was set to be taken over this month.

The McCord Hospital was to have been taken over in April, but that was delayed until September. The department provided a grant in terms of a service level agreement. However, the hospital suddenly cancelled the service level agreement last month, only to ask for this month’s grant.

The two hospitals are among the 12 hospitals in KZN that the department hopes to absorb into the public health sector.

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