New role for Durban’s McCord Hospital as Specialist Eye Centre
DURBAN’s McCord Hospital is to be turned into a specialist eye hospital, expected to perform at least 40 eye operations a day, from next month.
This comes after the KwaZulu-Natal health department took over the running of the 104-year-old owned institution, which had been on the verge of financial collapse.
The acquisition was completed in February when staff and assets were absorbed into the public sector.
The institution will now be known as the Comprehensive Centre of Excellence Provincial Eye Hospital. It is expected to perform cataract operations from Monday to Friday.
The institution is also to have an optical lab for making contact lenses, along with operating as an ophthalmology teaching hospital.
“We are very excited about this because we will be able to bring people suffering from eye-related illnesses to the hospital for access to operations and other forms of treatment,” Dr Sbongiseni Dhlomo, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for health, said yesterday. More than 3.5-million children and elderly people in KwaZulu experience eye problems, Dr Dhlomo said.
“This hospital will now cater for all these people. We saw a need to open the eye hospital because eye clinics are amongst the busiest within our general hospitals.
“Eye care equipment is very expensive and, therefore, consolidating the service into one facility that can be accessed and used by all our districts made good sense,” Dr Dhlomo said.
Dr Linda Visser, a senior manager at McCord Hospital, described as an excellent idea the move to turn the hospital into a specialist centre.
“Ophthalmology has often taken a back seat in general hospital settings and often it is the first to suffer when there are budget cuts.
“Having a dedicated eye hospital will mean we can perform cataracts surgeries without worrying that our theatre time will be taken by other surgeons,” she said.
Dr Jean Peters, a Durban-based veteran ophthalmologist, said the new eye hospital is set to benefit many elderly men and women who need to undergo eye operations, often as a result of diabetes and high blood pressure.
The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) commended the provincial health department, and also expressed support for the new centre. “We had not heard about (the new developments) as the department is yet to inform us about the whole plan.
“But if that is the case, we as Nehawu would view it in a positive light and a step towards the attainment of the National Health Insurance scheme,” Nehawu provincial secretary Phakama Ndunakazi said.
More than 3.5-million children and elderly people in KwaZulu experience eye problems.