File photo: Pexels.

DURBAN - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said on Monday it was strongly opposed to attempts to close down the Hillcrest Clinic, which would be "gambling with people's lives" as 500 patients would be adversely affected. 

The clinic forms part of Hillcrest Hospital, and according to media reports, is supposed to be used as a specialised physical rehabilitation facility instead of for primary health care and chronic disease management. The patients will have to be referred to appropriate facilities. 

"The IFP believes that the closure of the Hillcrest Clinic will have a negative impact on sick people who rely on this clinic. People will be affected financially as they will have to pay for transport to seek medical help at other healthcare facilities which are far from their homes," said IFP provincial health spokesperson, Ncamisile Nkwanyana, on Monday. 

She said the province's health MEC, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu, must ensure the clinic was not closed, which would be "gambling with people's lives". 

"We urge the MEC to call for an urgent meeting with the Hillcrest community to clarify this matter as there is confusion about the closure of the clinic. Proper answers must be provided to the affected community about what is really happening. Failure to do that will leave the community confused, particularly those who suffer from chronic diseases."

African News Agency (ANA)