Pietermaritzburg - The KwaZulu-Natal health department's bid to take over a 103-year-old Durban hospital has stalled over what buildings constitute the hospital and who should control a litigation fund.
KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo told a provincial health portfolio committee meeting in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday that the McCord Hospital board did not want to sell the accommodation for nurses and doctors.
“We can't operate a hospital without nurses' homes, doctors' quarters, and parking bays. We would want to take over everything that is called McCord's.”
He said that during negotiations it had also been agreed that the department would set up a fund to be used in the event the hospital was sued for potential medical negligence cases that related to events prior to the department taking over the hospital.
“We have agreed that in case they are sued, any litigation that is going to take place from now for the next 21 years, it would be guaranteed by government.”
However, the board wanted to have control over the fund.
“What we fundamentally differ with McCord's management and board is that figure, whether it is R2 million, R30 million, is that it must go and sit in their bank accounts. You can't have government money sitting in a private bank account.”
Dhlomo said he was not prepared to compromise on either issue and the hospital's board would need to accept government's decision.
He declined to say that the negotiations had deadlocked.
The hospital was slated for closure earlier this year after the department opted not to renew its annual subsidy.
At the end of January, Dhlomo announced that the department had offered to take over the hospital and that the hospital's board had accepted this and negotiations would take place.
The board could not be reached for comment. - Sapa