Sickly children at the Sarah Fox Children’s Convalescent Hospital in Athlone are being moved and administrative staff says they will be left jobless at the end of the month when the facility closes.
Frustrated staff members protested outside the Athlone hospital earlier this week, after they were told that the provincial Department of Health was withdrawing funding and the hospital would be closed down on 31 August.
Monique Johnstone, spokesperson for the Department of Health in Western Cape says the department is not closing the facility, but are merely withdrawing funding. Services will be rendered by a new service provider.
“Services will not be closed and healthcare will still continue, just under a different service provider,” she states.
Johnson reassured staff members that they will not be affected and that the department of health will do anything in the power to ensure they are not left unemployed.
“We are trying to see if we can place workers elsewhere to avoid unemployment,” Johnson says.
Sarah Fox has been operating for more than 50 years and the department subsidises 90% of its operational costs.
Johnson says a new facility, to replace Sarah Fox, will be appointed in September.
“A tender was put forward and unfortunately we did not meet the requirements. As of the 1st of September, St Joseph’s hospital will be taking over the tender and the children will be moved there,” Johnson says.
About 60 special needs children from poor backgrounds are receiving care at the hospital. According to Johnson, the children currently living at Sarah Fox hospital will not be stranded.
“30 beds have been made available at St Joseph’s Home in Montana and they are working on creating space for the rest,” Johnson added. VOC