Alliance questions GF Jooste closure
Cape Town -
A group of activists has called for a moratorium on the closing of GF Jooste Hospital, saying the decision to close it and rebuild it from scratch was made without consultation.
The group, which calls itself the GF Jooste Coalition, said plans to demolish the hospital were not only inadequate and vague, but so far there had been no reassurance from the provincial Department of Health that patient care would not suffer during the construction period.
In a memorandum to Health MEC Theuns Botha’s office on Monday, the body - which comprises nine organisations, including nursing bodies, the SA Medical Association (Sama), Cape Metro Health Forum, Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and Treatment Action Campaign - also claimed that there were no clear plans to absorb the hospital’s workload.
The Manenberg hospital is one of the busiest in the Western Cape and is to be closed for three years. According to the department, during construction, services would be moved to the new Mitchell’s Plain Hospital. Emergency patients would be accommodated by other emergency centres in the Klipfontein subdistrict, while in-patients would be absorbed by nearby hospitals as well as Groote Schuur.
Dr Zameer Brey, provincial chairman of Sama, said while the building of a new hospital was welcomed by all, there was no clear plan on how the 350 000 patients served by GF Jooste would be accommodated.
“Staff at GF Jooste have not yet received any written communication with regard to the implications for their employment. Staff are facing an uncertain future, and still do not know where they will be working and whether they will be offered posts equivalent to their current posts,” he said.
The department said the decision to rebuild the hospital a careful and considered process and was aimed at improving health services in the area, not remove them.
Botha said no jobs would be lost.
He said the new hospital would provide a full range of hospital services and have a “significant specialist presence”.
“Prior to the closure for the rebuilding of GF Jooste Hospital, the department will spell out the implications for surrounding communities and make suitable arrangements for health care in these communities,” Botha said.
“Communication will include print and electronic media, focus group discussions and broader community meetings.” - Cape Argus