DA wants answers as St Mary’s Hospital faces closure

Makhosazana Mdlalose, MPP

DA KZN Spokesperson on Health

The Democratic Alliance calls on KwaZulu-Natal’s Health MEC, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, to provide immediate clarity regarding his department’s hospital subsidy policy after a media report which reveals that St Mary’s Hospital in Mariannhill is facing closure after the department allegedly cut funding.

While some funding is guaranteed, the figure for the next year is said to be substantially less than that required for the current operations and additional public health services at the hospital.

The news comes hot on the heels of an announcement that the DOH has finally come to an agreement with the board of Durban’s Mc Cord hospital after months of uncertainty due to a subsidy cut.   According to reports, the hospital will resume services under the joint management of both the department and the Board until February next year.

The Democratic Alliance is deeply concerned by the funding crisis that has developed within the provincial health department.

It is unacceptable that patients should be sent from pillar to post to get the public health care that is rightfully theirs.

The KZN DOH has promised to build new hospitals to alleviate the current burden on existing facilities.   Yet, for some reason, it is also slashing funding to existing hospitals which already provide an excellent service. This makes no sense whatsoever nor is it cost effective.

St Mary’s hospital in Mariannhill has served the surrounding communities for decades and currently provides health care to more than a million people.

It would be a travesty for this hospital to close.

Reports indicate that the St Mary’s Board will meet with DOH officials sometime this month in an attempt to resolve the matter.  The DA expects the MEC to attend this meeting and we expect a solution.

It is unthinkable that St Mary’s hospital should close its doors.