National Health Insurance (NHI) will only cause health services to sink even lower
12 July 2019
South Africa's health care system is in a deep pit – not due to a lack of funds, but due to mismanagement, corruption and incompetence. And now the government expects the very same officials who are responsible for the chaos to manage its grandiose National Health Insurance (NHI). It is obviously doomed to fail.
According to the Minister, only 16% of South Africans currently have access to health care services. But state health care services can be found even in the utmost corners of our country. Therefore, it is clear that the problem lies with service delivery and not accessibility; with the people who are managing the service.
The ANC is failing miserably in this regard.
One of the main causes of this failure is the government's obsession with transformation. The ANC is transforming everything in the country into a mess.
Seeing as the current system is not being managed properly, any dream of implementing another system is bound to turn into a nightmare. The NHI plan must be abolished as soon as possible. It is a recipe for disaster and it will not improve hospitals and clinics.
First of all, the lack of nursing staff makes the implementation of the NHI impossible. According to the trade union Solidarity, 8 535 fewer nurses entered the labour market since 2013 and the number of qualified nursing staff members has decreased with 40% since 2013. This is due to:
Working under difficult circumstances.
A lack of support and equipment.
A lack of funds.
The circumstances in our country's hospitals and clinics are absolutely shocking. Security is so bad that nurses, doctors, students and patients are assaulted and even raped. On top of that, many patients die under strange circumstances. Even if someone is admitted to the hospital with a broken leg, he cannot be sure that he will survive.
From 2010 to 2015, the Gauteng Department of Health paid out approximately R540 million in compensation as a result of negligence. At present, there are legal claims amounting to R1 billion against the Department. Esidimeni is the result of poor management. And yet, just like so many other cases of fraud and corruption in the country, there are no consequences.
Strikes at state hospitals are a regular occurrence due to wage disputes. Both hospitals and clinics often do not have enough medication. Cancer patients are given Panados seeing as prescription drugs are not available.
We can no longer allow our state hospitals to be run like abattoirs and mortuaries. The Minister must step in and take decisive action to save our health care system. And in the interim, we should forget about the NHI. Under ANC leadership, it simply will not work.
Issued by Philip van Staden, FF Plus MP and chief spokesperson: Health, 12 July