Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital refutes funding crisis claims

The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital remains confident of its ability to transform healthcare for children

Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) has refuted the recent media reports that it is facing a funding crisis and indicates the facts about the funding and operating model of the hospital were misrepresented.

The recent media reports indicated that certain sections were not yet opened, as the hospital has only received R150 million from government and not R500 million, as promised.

The hospital’s CEO Dr Mandisa Maholwana said in a statement that in December 2016, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust launched NMCH. This event was to mark the completion of the bricks-and-mortar phase of the project, and the start of the preparation for patient intake, namely recruitment, training, simulations and putting systems in place for operations to take place.

READ MORE: Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital on track to completion

“The trust was also very clear that this processes would take time in order to allow for a hospital that is efficient, focuses on safe patient care, and supports the family and caregivers and opens responsibly. With this in mind, we were to open the hospital in phases,” she said.

The figure of R500 million has been punted as the running cost of the hospital, but NMCH says this figure was an estimate by experts based on the cost of running a 200-bed children’s hospital at full capacity. The hospital is not yet running at that level.

“Government has committed to R650 million over three years. There is no shortage of funding for NMCH, as the money coming from government is in line with this phasing-in. NMCH will explore and secure funding for additional programmes that the hospital and the trust initiate.

READ MORE: Group Five wins contract to build Mandela hospital

“Therefore, it is inaccurate to call this a funding crisis as NTSG funding covers current planned activities. The hospital has been comforted by the support of government throughout the progress of the project,” said Maholwana.

“The need for a dedicated children’s hospital has been proven and we remain confident of the need to transform healthcare for children. We are encouraged by support from our international partners, SickKids International and Johns Hopkins International, with whose support we planned our phasing in processes – in line with international standards and best practice of setting up a new hospital.

“NMCH has been seeing patients since 21 June, and for safety, privacy and smooth induction purposes, and alignment of processes between departments, we decided not to publicise our activities,” she said.