The KwaZulu-Natal health department is reviewing its funding for the privately owned McCord Hospital in Durban because it did not offer medical services for the indigent, said department head Sibongile Zungu.
A war of words has erupted between the 100-year-old hospital that operates as a nonprofit organisation, and the department, which has been providing a grant to the hospital for years.
Ms Zungu said at a media briefing on Wednesday that the grant — which was R70m last year — was being reviewed owing to concern by the department’s audit committee and the auditor-general that McCord’s management had reneged on the conditions of the grant, which were to provide training for interns and operate an HIV/AIDS facility for the indigent.
McCord ceased training interns last year and its HIV/AIDS facility was closed after it lost aid funding for HIV/AIDS from the US government, she said.
Ms Zungu said the department was willing to negotiate with McCord about the grant, provided the hospital complied with government policy on grant funds and provide services to the indigent.
McCord typically charges less than private hospitals, but more than state-owned hospitals.
McCord Hospital’s CEO Kevin Smith said last week the hospital would start a process of a "managed shutdown". This was after the department had failed to notify McCord of an intention to renew its grant funding.
The department has also threatened to close state-owned Addington Hospital because of complaints about creaking infra-structure and declining quality of medical services.