GOVERNMENT is set to take over the running of Norton Hospital in a bid to transform it into a state-of-the-art general hospital that copes with demands of the growing population.
The takeover is set to unlock Government budgetary support for the institution after Norton Town Council indicated during Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo’s visit last week that it could no longer manage its growing stature.
In his address after visiting health institutions in Norton, Dr Moyo said there would be no need to refer patients to hospitals in Harare after accidents.
“Clearly, these factors contribute and support the upgrading of institutions like this (Norton) to a district hospital. We will be able to increase the hospital’s exposure to Government funding and improve facilities. Government, working with Norton Town Council will look into the matter with the urgency it deserves.”
Dr Moyo said Government stands ready to take on board the proposal and would wait for council to bring forward a formal request for Government to takeover running of the hospital.
“The first thing is that we need to get the concurrence of council. The process starts with council documenting a resolution, bring it forward to us (Government),” he said.
“Once we get the hospital under our books, it then becomes easier for us to identify the budget which is necessary for the upgrades and the staff who will be working in that hospital.”
On the timeframe, Dr Moyo said that would depend on the speed with which Norton Town Council processes the proposal. Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs Mary Mliswa said the move to handover the hospital to Government would ameliorate some of the challenges the hospital was now facing owing to the growing demand for services.
“Norton Hospital has dutifully coped with the patients over the years that have sought medical services at the institution.
“We have advised them to handover it over to Government,” she said.
“They are now facing a lot of challenges and difficulties, including failure to pay staff and Government is having to come in and second staff so that they are able to deal with all the issues they are facing.”
The hospital serves referral and outpatient visits of a population of more than 100 000 people against intended capacity of around 40 000. It handles more than 200 deliveries each day.
Minister Mliswa appealed for the hospital to be upgraded to a general hospital which would enable it get increased budgetary support from Government.
Norton House of Assembly member Mr Temba Mliswa, who organised the minister’s tour and meeting with stakeholders, said a good health infrastructure was key in bringing investment to the town.
“This is a day when we wanted the Minister of Health and Child Care to appreciate the need to upgrade Norton Hospital to a general or district hospital in view of the growing population. It was planned to service a population of about 40 000 people, but Norton has grown to have more than 100 000 people and the hospital in now failing to cope,” he said.
The current hospital, he said, had no theatre, surgery and specialised medical personnel, resulting in critical cases from Norton being referred to Harare or Chegutu.