KZN private hospitals to provide beds 'free of charge' in event of large-scale Covid-19 outbreak

Private hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal have agreed to make beds available at their facilities should there be a large-scale outbreak of Covid-19 in the province
Private hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal have agreed to make beds available at their facilities should there be a large-scale outbreak of Covid-19 in the province
Image: Tyler Olson/ 123RF.com

Some private hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal have agreed to make their wards and beds available free of charge in the event of a “large-scale outbreak” of Covid-19 in the province.

MEC for health in the province Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu and her team met with nearly a dozen private health care service providers on Friday, where they pledged to lend a hand in the fight against the virus.

On Saturday the national health department released the latest number of confirmed infections in SA, which has risen by 38 since Friday to 240.

KwaZulu-Natal has three new cases, while Gauteng has 16, the Western Cape has 18 and the Eastern Cape has recorded its first Covid-19 case.

Simelane-Zulu described the partnership with the private health care sector as “a boon” to the department’s ongoing efforts to increase capacity, “as it continues to reconfigure and modify ordinary hospital wards into isolation wards throughout the province”.

The MEC described the gesture as a “moving display of patriotism at an unprecedented time in the history of SA” and urged others to follow suit.

The private hospitals are expected to provide a report on Wednesday detailing the exact number of beds to be made available, expected to run into the hundreds.

Simelane-Zulu said the department would handle the human resources and, where required, the equipment as part of the partnership.

“The intention and request had been to get them to avail beds that can be utilised by the department of health should the need arise.

“I’m extremely happy, and really appreciate the spirit that those who are running private facilities have evidenced. The majority of them expressed their willingness to give us beds.

“We know that by Wednesday we’re going to have a very clear and concrete plan on how many beds are available in the private sector, and how they’re going to spread within the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

“The beds are going to be free of charge. We’re then going to have side engagements in relation to the human resources and equipment aspects ... because some of the facilities are empty, and have not been equipped.

“So, we’re going to have discussions on how those will be staffed and equipped.

“But, should those be equipped by the department of health, the equipment will still belong to the department. At the end of this pandemic, they will have to be returned to the facilities of the department,” said Simelane-Zulu.

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