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Durban - The KwaZulu-Natal health department is set to take over Durban's 104-year-old McCord Hospital by the end of January next year.
Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said in Durban on Friday an interim management agreement had been signed last week.
In terms of the agreement, the hospital board and the department would run the hospital to finalise all outstanding issues that would see the hospital transferred to the department.
Earlier this year, the hospital was slated for closure after the department opted not to renew its annual subsidy.
At the end of January, Dhlomo announced the department had made an offer to take over the hospital.
However, later in the year, the board said the department's offer not only failed to reach the discounted value of the hospital's assets, it failed to adequately relieve the hospital board of its obligations, including existing and future claims that might be made against the board.
At a function held at the hospital to celebrate the agreement, Dhlomo assured hospital staff that their jobs were secure.
He praised them for not resorting to violent actions during the uncertainty related to the hospital's future.
He said he was extremely happy to see that the workers' pickets did not “translate to the destroying and burning of property”.
The hospital, which has been closed, would begin limited operations, taking the overflow of patients from other public hospitals to relieve the shortage of beds at those hospitals.
Comment could not immediately be obtained from the hospital board.