Opposition cries foul over hospital names

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

The renaming of three Gauteng hospitals has been received with consternation by the DA and members of the public.

Gauteng health MEC Brian Hlongwa announced yesterday that Pretoria Academic Hospital, Johannesburg Hospital and Coronation Women and Children's Hospital had been changed to Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital and Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, respectively.

The DA said the process of renaming the hospitals was costly and the money could have been spent on the improvement of healthcare in the province.

"Our hospitals are in such a bad state that the real priority is to improve patient care, not spend money on confusing name changes," health spokesman Jack Bloom said.

Hlongwa would not divulge how much the renaming process cost. He was only prepared to say that it was "not astronomical" and "no huge costs" were attached to it.

He said the costs were incorporated into the department's budget in April last year.

"You cannot put a price on pride. This is not the case of money that is being diverted from surgery or HIV-Aids treatment or our TB programme," he said.

Residents that the Sowetan spoke to said the renaming, especially of Coronation Hospital, was unnecessary.

"We are used to the name. We don't want it to change. We don't even know who this Rahima Moosa is," said David Paulse of Eldorado Park.

"All our lives we have known this hospital as Coronation."