Hospital to close

Tension is rising among staff at the Sarah Fox Children’s Convalescent Hospital in Silvertown after the Western Cape Department of Health announced the closure of the community hospital at the end of this month.

More than 70 staff members and residents from the area gathered outside the hospital premises in Petunia Road to protest against the closure on Monday morning.

Employees of the 50-year-old hospital, who are set to be left jobless within a few weeks’ time, are now demanding that funding be reinstated for the sake of both the employees and the patients.

“This is not fair, the staff and patients will suffer. We have been benefiting from this hospital for many years and don’t understand why it needs to be shut down. Where will my ill son be transferred to now?

“To add, we already have transport issues getting here, I can’t imagine what the government has planned for us next,” said one protestor, Alisha Evens from Silvertown.

Ashley Benjamin, a social worker at the hospital, also voiced her concern to the media on the day of the protest.

She said the staff are tired of the mismanagement at the hospital and have been left clueless with regard to the sudden closure.

Benjamin explained that in light of the good service rendered at the community hospital over the years, the staff are still battling to understand why funds are being withdrawn by the government.

The National Union of Public Service and Allied Workers has since taken up the matter with both the Department of Health and the Department of Labour.

Mark van der Heever, spokesperson for the provincial health department, confirmed that funding would be withdrawn at the end of the month.

It is believed the department’s district office is currently trying to avoid job losses by providing the hospital employees with new jobs at other non-profit organisations.

Van der Heever said Sarah Fox will continue to render health services to the patients until the end of August whereafter a new contract with a new service provider will commence.

He added that the department can assure patients and their families that the department prioritised the well-being of patients through concluding and awarding the new contract to ensure patients receive continued care.