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QMMH PRO resigns

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Limpho Sello

QUEEN Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH)’s Public Relations Manager, Mothepane Thahane, has resigned from the beleaguered institution.

She told the Lesotho Times that she had resigned to take up a more lucrative post as a matron at the Maseru Private Hospital. She resigned with effect from 1 April 2021 but refused to say when she would be starting her new job.

However, speculation is rife that she resigned due to the ongoing crisis at the hospital following last month’s decision by the government to cut ties with the Tšepong Consortium which runs the hospital.

Health Minister Semano Sekatle said the government felt it could no longer continue its 18-year Private Public Partnership (PPP) entered into in 2008 with the Consortium for the construction, running and transfer of the hospital due to serious differences which had plagued the agreement from the very beginning. Mr Sekatle said the last straw was the Consortium’s 12 March 2021 decision to fire nurses who had been on strike since 1 February 2021 to press the government and QMMH to award them salary increments to match their counterparts in other government and private institutions.

The Consortium has run QMMH since October 2011 when it replaced Queen Elizabeth II Hospital as the country’s major referral healthcare facility.

Netcare formed the Consortium with a fellow South African company and three local companies.  In October 2008 an 18-year PPP agreement was signed between the government of Lesotho and the new company, Tšepong Consortium, for the construction and operation of the hospital. Netcare has a 40 percent stake in the Tšepong Consortium. Four other companies, namely, Afri’nnai of South Africa (20 percent), Lesotho companies, Excel Health (20 percent), Women Investment (10 percent) and D10 Investments (10 percent) hold the balance of the shares.

Netcare has since indicated that it will oppose the government’s decision to terminate the Consortium’s contract to run the hospital.

The timing of the departure of Ms Thahane, who has served the hospital spokesperson since 2017, has naturally fuelled speculation that she is jumping ship due to the crisis at the hospital.

Some sources within the nursing fraternity said she did not want to continue being engulfed in the crisis at the country’s major referral facility.

The sources also claimed she was no longer on good terms with the hospital management.

Ms Thahane however, denied the allegations, saying she was a nurse by profession and had resigned to take up a better paying job as a matron at Maseru Private Hospital.

“People just need to stop twisting issues the way it suits them. I am a nurse and I got a better offer which I could not refuse. I saw an opportunity and I took it. At QMMH, I am just an employee and nothing stops me from looking for better deals,” Ms Thahane said.

She said she was currently serving out her notice before leaving QMMH. Although she refused to say when she would leave, a source said she would remain at QMMH until the end of the month and only take up her new post at the beginning of next month.

Ms Thahane holds a Diploma in General Nursing and Midwifery from the National Health Training College (NHTC) in Lesotho, a Bachelor’s Degree in Administration and Education from the University of North-West and an Honours Degree in Nursing Education from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

She has previously worked at Maseru Private Hospital as the deputy matron.

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