Western Cape picket at the Provincial Legislature on the closure of GF Jooste hospital

Today on the 10th September 2012 we the concerned health care workers, community members and civil society organizations have come together to voice our concern over the plan to decommission GF Jooste for 3 years.  This initiation was initiated by SAMA in conjunction with TAC, MCHF, PHM, DENOSA, NEHAWU, Klipfontein sub district and other community groups and concerned parties like MSF.  We feel that the community will be adversely affected by this closure therefore we want to address what is widely seen to be a crisis unfolding.  A new hospital to replace GF Jooste is welcomed by all , with paediatric and obstetric services, which at present are not provided locally.

While details of plans to demolish and rebuild GF Jooste is unclear, or at least are not in the public domain, the following has been communicated by the provincial department of health, in a piecemeal manner:    GF Jooste will close next year for 3 years, It will be rebuilt on the same site, In the interim patients will be moved to Mitchells Plain and Groot Schuur hospital depending on disease complexity, Certain elements of care currently offered at GF Jooste will cease such as High care unit the infectious Disease Unit and the CT Scanner, A potential emergency stand-alone centre may be set up somewhere within Klipfontein corridor.

GF Jooste currently services a population of over 1 million Capetonians. It is positioned strategically within a community who have a very high burden of disease.

It should be noted that there is a fundamental difference between consultation and information.  To date there has been no formal consultation, there has merely been information.  There has been no written communication to the health care workers based at the hospital and community structures it serves despite some verbal interaction with DOH officials.

A month ago we as the coalition send a memorandum to the MEC for Health, Premiere’s office and the ANC Western Cape but to date we still need to get a response from these officials.  The purpose of today’s picket was to publicly draw attention to our concerns since we are being ignored by our provincial government.  We as the Concerned Coalition call for an urgent response to our concerns, a meeting with the MEC of health to clarify these and several related matters, and an immediate moratorium on the plan to close GF Jooste until the issues that we have raised have been adequately addressed.  We are picketing again on the 27th September 2012 at GF Jooste hospital and we have again extended a invitation to the MEC for Health’s office.