McCord Hospital’s fate to be announced

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IOL news jan 22  nm mcCords.JPG INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS File photo:The acting chief executive of McCord Hospital, Kevin Smith.

Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal provincial government will make an announcement on Wednesday about the future of Durban's 103-year-old McCord Hospital, which faces closure amid reduced state funding.

KwaZulu-Natal health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said on Tuesday an agreement had yet to be reached with McCord Hospital.

The hospital's management announced two weeks ago that it had decided to close the facility by the end of March because the provincial department had failed to inform it what its annual subsidy, if any, would be. The hospital received a R70 million subsidy in 2011/12.

Last week, KwaZulu-Natal health department head Dr Sibongile Zungu said no decision had been made on a subsidy for the 142-bed hospital.

Speaking to reporters in Durban, she said a committee in the department's hospital services section would meet this week to determine McCord's subsidy.

On Tuesday, Dhlomo would not comment on whether this committee had reached a decision.

King George V Hospital, which opened in 1939 and has been upgraded at a cost of R1.1 billion in the past five years, is to be renamed the King Dinizulu Hospital.

It specialises in tuberculosis and psychiatric treatment, but has numerous other facilities, and serves about 700,000 people.

The Daily News reported on Tuesday that the department had made an offer to buy the hospital, after consultations with the provincial treasury.

However, hospital's CEO Kevin Smith declined to comment, except to say that the hospital's management met with the health department on Friday.

He said he was not aware of a meeting with hospital management on Tuesday.

Smith said that at Friday's meeting it was agreed there would be no speaking to the media unless an agreement to do so had been reached.

Provincial health spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi said he could not immediately comment on the Daily News article. - Sapa

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