South Africa 26.9.2013 01:33 pm

Talks over McCord hospital resume

PHOTO: AFP.

PHOTO: AFP.

Talks have resumed on the KwaZulu-Natal health department’s bid to take over the 104-year-old McCord Hospital in Durban.

The hospital board said on Thursday it met health department negotiators on Wednesday “to discuss matters related to the take-over of McCord Hospital and transfer of the staff of McCord Hospital to the KZN provincial government”.

Earlier this year, the hospital was slated for closure after the department opted not to renew its annual subsidy.

At the end of January, health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo announced the department had made an offer to take over the hospital.

Last week, the board announced that negotiations had ceased and the hospital would close its doors on Friday because the department’s offer was too low.

The board had claimed that the department was offering less than what the board would need to ensure it met the hospital’s current and future liabilities.

On Thursday it said: “During the course of the meeting it became apparent that the KZN government was prepared to reconsider its previous offer for the hospital.”

A joint technical team had been established “to address outstanding issues between the board and the government and to reach agreement on a take-over of McCord Hospital by the government”.

While negotiations continued, the hospital would remain closed.

Earlier this week, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union obtained an interim court order preventing the board from retrenching staff.

On Tuesday African National Congress spokesman Senzo Mkhize said: “The PWC instructed the provincial government team to reach an amicable solution to avoid further disruption at the hospital.”

Provincial health spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi could not immediately be reached for comment.

-Sapa

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