POLITICAL parties in the province fully support the ANC’s proposal for the country’s 10 biggest hospitals to be run by the national Department of Health.

Among the hospitals that the national department intends taking over is Mthatha’s Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital.

Since December, the national department has justified its intention by saying some provincial governments lacked capacity to manage the academic hospitals.

Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital is the only teaching hospital in the province and is linked to Walter Sisulu University. Hospitals in other provinces affected include:

Groote Schuur and Tygerberg in the Western Cape;

Steve Biko, George Mukhari, Charlotte Maxeke and Chris Hani Baragwanath in Gauteng;

Universitas in the Free State; and

King Edward VIII and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central in KwaZulu-Natal.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has called the hospitals “national assets” which provincial departments, whose public health systems were either on the brink of collapse or had already collapsed, could not manage.

Speaking to the Dispatch yesterday, Joe Maila, the minister’s spokesman said: “The proposal is to make sure that all central hospitals are under national control because they are national assets.”

Although there has been speculation that should the proposal be accepted the hospitals would fall under national from the beginning of April, Maila remained mum on any dates.

“I don’t have dates, but it is a proposal that we are considering,” he said.

Democratic Alliance’s provincial shadow MEC, John Cupido said he thought the proposal would reap positive benefits for the province.

“The immediate hope is that with national administration there will be more funding.”

Provincial health spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said the move would be beneficial.

“It will assist the department in terms of ensuring we have adequate resources in Mthatha for the people of the O R Tambo district,” he added.

COPE’s spokesman on health matters Nkosinathi Kuluta welcomed the proposal.

“It would help the situation, but only half way. What we’d like to see happen is the total takeover,” he said. —