25 January 2013

South Africa: Closure of Mccord Hospital Could Only Worsen SA?s Ailing Health System - Denosa

Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) would like to voice its concern over the likely closure of the 142-bed McCord hospital in March, especially at the time when the country desperately needs more hospital beds and more healthcare workers.

This is especially because, while the hospital is a non-governmental health facility, it has serviced many patients in need of health care.

These patients, including the largest number of those who were on the hospital’s roll for HIV/AIDS treatment in the eThekwini region, now will no longer be getting this essential help if the hospital closes its doors.

“Whatever the challenges surrounding the hospital maybe, but the closure of the hospital does not auger well and is not helpful to the country’s ailing health system, as thousands of indigent patients will have to search for and join the already long queues in other health facilities,” says Cassim Lekhoathi, DENOSA provincial secretary in KwaZulu-Natal.

DENOSA hopes that the talks between the hospital management and the provincial department of Health will be informed by the interest to fight the burden of diseases and care for the sick and vulnerable, and that a reasonable solution will be arrived at.

We also wish that, in the likely event that the hospital management may have failed in keeping the hospital afloat, the need to care for patients will be central when both parties meet and that the decisions taken will be based on the interest of serving patients.

“Put simply, the closure of the hospital will mean two things: few healthcare avenues for patients and job losses for many healthcare workers in a country with already high unemployment rate and not sufficient healthcare workers. That can only worsen matters for the country as far as provision of health care is concerned. This can be averted when the two parties meet,” adds Lekhoathi.

The unfortunate reality, however, is that at the time when we are only left with few months before the launch of the NHI in April, there will be few hospitals to care for patients in KZN, and this may contradict the noble idea of the NHI if a lasting solution is not found.

“The loss of 142 beds in McCord hospital could, in fact, be a difference between life and death to many patients. And that is of great concern to us as an organisation that advocates for quality healthcare for patients,” says Lekhoathi.

Issued by:Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)

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