Survey finds healthcare workers are uninformed about NHI scheme

September 11, 2018

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has introduced legislation to overhaul the healthcare system we have. He wants to create a single healthcare system. The idea is to provide free healthcare for all. You would think that the government would inform healthcare workers about it first.

Motsoaledi has published two bills for public comment. The Cabinet has approved these. The NHI is going to be phased in incrementally. However, some implemenation will take place while the Parliamentary process is under way.

Healthcare workers – Information Lacking in ALL areas of NHI

The NHI Bill doesn’t give an actual date of implementation. Nobody is even sure when the system will come into effect. And a survey by the Solidarity Research Institute reveals that the implementation date isn’t the only unknown. Most healthcare workers don’t even know really what the NHI Scheme is about.

Union Solidarity’s Research Institute did a survey. They wanted to find out what healthcare practitioners think about the NHI. They found that the general sentiment is negative. Many of the workers complained about the lack of information around the scheme and that the white papers presented by the health department were vague, lacking detail about the functioning and implementation of the NHI.

Healthcare workers – Skilled Medical Experts Preparing to Depart South Africa

Solidarity said that most health practitioners indicated that there wasn’t sufficient consultation with them about the objectives of the NHI. One of the findings in the survey of major concern was that 83.2% of healthcare workers believe that skilled private health professionals will leave South Africa if the NHI goes ahead. They added that they themselves would also consider emigrating.

As it is there is already a major shortage of human resources, with a huge percentage of medical professionals, on finishing their training, leaving the country as it is. Currently, South Africa trains 1,200 doctors a year but the country has a shortage of 83,000 healthcare workers.

Healthcare workers – South Africa’s Healthcare Slowly Becoming Destabilized

Solidarity said that filling these empty posts would cost the country in the region of R40 billion. As if this wasn’t bad enough, health workers also believed that with the arrival of the NHI, we will see country’s healthcare just being totally destabilized.

Professor Alex van den Heever who used to be a senior adviser at the Council for Medical Schemes has said that if implemented, the NHI simply couldn’t work. He said this at a crisis summit hosted by Solidarity in Centurion.

The institute was presenting its report on research conducted among nearly 4000 health practitioners. Dr Chris Archer, a health care practitioner also thought the NHI implementation was a bad idea and said that there wasn’t much information on how and where specialists would fit into it.

Healthcare workers – So Much Uncertainty

Research psychologist from Solidarity, Nicolien Welthagen said that during the research, the institute could see that health care workers were not knowledgeable on the NHI. She added that with the electric questionnaire and opinion study, they could quickly see that that people don’t have much knowledge on the NHI but that Aaron Motsoaledi also hasn’t provided much information. Maybe he doesn’t know much about it himself. Nicolien Welthagen and Morné Malan say that  government hasn’t even stated yet on how the purchasing and management of assets and medication is going to work.

Solidarity also said that the question as to how maintenance of infrastructure and equipment will be managed also remains unanswered.

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All info was correct at time of publishing