Hospital DEAL slated

HEALTH Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has admitted that putting the private sector in charge of a public hospital was an innovative but expensive exercise that should never be repeated.

Motsoaledi was referring to the first public-private partnership (PPP) hospital in Africa, the Inkosi Albert Luthuli in Durban.

The facility is run by Impilo Consortium in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health at a cost of R1,3billion a year.

The consortium is made up of Siemens Medical Solutions, Drake and Scull, Vulindlela Holdings, Mbekani, Omame and the Austrian information technology company AME.

Motsoaledi said: "Never again will we engage in such a venture.

"The idea was good but too expensive."

He said the government would now be working with the private sector to improve infrastructure and service delivery in public hospitals.

Inkosi Albert Luthuli is one of the biggest projects since the inception of the National Treasury's PPP unit in May 2000. The facility allows for quick and easy access to patient-records and has computerised facilities management.

It boasts 16 state-of-the-art operating theatres and is believed to be one of the most technologically advanced hospitals in the world. It has a capacity of 846 beds.

The Impilo Consortium will provide the hospital with services and equipment for the next 15 years after which it will be handed over to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health if the contract is not renewed.