Matat hospital in crisis

2010-09-23 00:00

TAYLOR Bequest Hospital in Matatiele under Alfred Nzo District Municipality in the Eastern Cape is facing a bleak future after its budget was cut from R16 million in the last financial year to R1,4 million this financial year.

As a result the only hospital in the district might be closed down at the end of this month.

African Independent Congress MPL Mandla Galo said the hospital is running short of medicines and healthy food for patients, and the available oxygen will not last this month.

Galo said this was confirmed by management on Tuesday. “We were informed by a hospital board member about the situation at the facility.

“We are shocked to learn about the crisis especially the imminent closure, something which was confirmed by hospital management.

“We are therefore calling on [Health] Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s intervention in this matter,” said Galo.

Matatiele and its 24 wards, with a population of about 80 000, were incorporated into the Eastern Cape from KwaZulu-Natal in 2006 — a controversial decision that was opposed by the community, opposition parties and amakhosi in the area.

Galo, who also sits in the legislature’s standing committee on public accounts, said the health system in the province is collapsing due to unaccounted spending.

Hospital chief Mzingisi Tshaka could not be reached for comment.

An employee who asked not to be named said the situation at the hospital is getting worse and closure is possible.

Eastern Cape health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said: “The entire Health Department is experiencing financial problems.

“With regard to the budget cut, the department advised managers to cut down on unnecessary expenditure.

“However, I must assure people that the hospital won’t be closed.”

He said that when the municipality was incorporated into the Eastern Cape the hospital was in already in financial crisis.

He denied that the oxygen supply is about to run out.

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