The Mercury

Land biggest sticking point for new hospital

- Wendy Jasson da Costa

SEVERAL months after authoritie­s first announced a new King Edward VIII Hospital would be built, the government is still battling to find a suitable location for the new facility, close to the existing hospital in Umbilo.

Health spokesman Chris Maxon said the biggest problem was identifyin­g suitable government-owned land.

He said the new building had to be close to the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine, because it would be a teaching hospital.

King Edward VIII is the second-largest hospital in the southern hemisphere, according to its website. The medical school also has a nursing college.

Maxon said doctors would be consulted on the hospital’s layout to ensure associated wards and areas would be close to each other.

“Previously, the X-ray and outpatient­s department­s used to be far from each other, and patients had to walk quite a distance to get there. The new design needs to be done in line with the workflow.”

The new hospital would take three to five years to complete, he said.

Teams from the Developmen­t Bank of Southern Africa, which would assist with funding, the department­s of Health and Public Works and the National Treasury wereworkin­g in teams to oversee the project.

Maxon said they could not rebuild the existing King Edward VIII Hospital, or build a “hospital within a hospital”, because this would take a long time, as demonstrat­ed by Durban’s King George V Hospital. Rebuilding had started at that hospital 10 years ago and had still not been completed.

King Edward VIII Hospital has problems with ageing infrastruc­ture, with one section of the orthopaedi­c unit being forced to close because of a collapsed ceiling.

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