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Cape Town - The DA provincial government will not relinquish control of Groote Schuur and Tygerberg hospitals to the national Health Department without a fight, Health MEC Theuns Botha says.
“It will be unconstitutional to nationalise it and we will resist it,” he said on Monday.
Botha was approached for comment after Western Cape Health Department head Professor Craig Househam had told Business Day the national department had neither the capacity nor the skills to run the two hospitals from Pretoria.
Househam was interviewed on Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi’s plan to place 10 academic hospitals under national control.
“I firmly believe this decision, in the current context is a mistake. Groote Schuur and Tygerberg are not perfect, but in the South African context they are well managed. Their CEOs are competent and well qualified and they play a very important part in a health system focused at local level,” Business Day quoted Househam as saying.
Botha said he was in full support of Househam who spoke on behalf of the Western Cape Health Department.
“These two hospitals are provincial assets, are run provincially and they render a quality service. There is no reason to put them in a basket with other hospitals that are poorly run,” he said.
The problem of poorly managed hospitals would remain unsolved as long as proper control was missing and health MECs and provincial governments lacked political responsibility, Botha said.
“We take responsibility and that is why we make a difference. It is not a magic formula. The national department could not muster a clean audit, but now wants to take control of hospitals in a province where we received a clean audit,” said Botha.
In the Business Day article on Monday Motsoaledi said he knew the Western Cape resented national control of Tygerberg and Groote Schuur.
“The problem with the Western Cape is they regard themselves as a different country because they are under the DA,” the paper quoted him as saying.
The province had also been opposed to the National Health Insurance, but later agreed to it being piloted, Motsoaledi added.
“It’s opposed to training doctors in Cuba, which is an indictment. There are poor kids in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain who would benefit from the programme,” Motsoaledi told Business Day.
Said Botha: “He talks about the DA. I can say some things about ANC-controlled health departments, but I’m disappointed he makes such political remarks.
“What we do has got to do with good governance. The health minister decided to appoint chief executive officers at central hospitals everywhere in the country except in the Western Cape and this proves the Western Cape hospitals are well managed.”