Cape Town 140703- Chrystal Sauls, nurse from Jooste hospital inside the ward . Minister of Health Theuns Botha visited the Heideveld Emergency centre that will accomodate GF Jooste hospital patients . Picture Cindy waxa.Reporter Sipokazi/Argus

Cape Town - GF Jooste Hospital, one of the busiest hospitals on the Cape Flats, closes its doors on Friday.

But it’s not the end of the road for the hospital – it will be rebuilt bigger and better, according to Health MEC Theuns Botha, offering increased safety for patients and health workers.

Speaking during an inspection at the new Heideveld emergency unit, Botha said the construction of the hospital was expected to start early next year and would be completed in 2018.

“We hope to commission it in 2019, and when it’s ready it will have specialised services including a paediatric section, obstetrics and gynaecology, which the old hospital didn’t have,” he said.

Botha was still uncertain whether the existing hospital buildings would be demolished, saying that although a CSIR report recommended that the existing building be knocked down, there was another option for the department to build the hospital on vacant land next to the hospital.

The land, which was previously earmarked for the Department of Education, was being considered as an alternative site for the new R785 million hospital.

“It might be that we don’t demolish the existing building and keep it for educational purposes… possibly a college. If we decide to build on the existing hospital site then we will definitely demolish it, but if we go for the other site then we won’t touch the building. We are still in discussions with everyone involved in the process,” he said.

The new hospital will have 360 beds – almost double the 184 beds in the old hospital.

In 2012, when it first became known that the hospital would be closed and rebuilt, groups such as the SA Medical Association and Cape Metro Health Forum said it would leave a vacuum in health services in the Klipfontein region and overburden new hospitals in Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.

They argued that transferring patients to surrounding hospitals would defeat the purpose of building two new hospitals on the Cape Flats, while specialist services such as ICU and high care would also fall away.

On Thursday Botha said the new R38 million Heideveld Emergency Unit, which would open on Monday, would absorb most of the work that was done by the now defunct GF Jooste trauma unit.

With a 30-bed overnight ward, four-bed resuscitation area, isolation rooms, X-ray unit and a holding mortuary, the Heideveld centre was expected to provide services previously available at Jooste, treating about 1 600 patients every month.

Cape Argus