NHI pilot districts identified

2012-02-24 09:51

The National Health Council (NHC) is expected to decide by tomorrow which districts will pilot the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.

The decision will be based on the findings of the preliminary audit report on public healthcare facilities, which will be tabled at the NHC meeting in Pretoria today by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. The NHC’s two-day meeting ends tomorrow.

The NHI pilot project is set to be rolled out in ten districts in April as part of phasing in the system over the next 14 years. The government health scheme aims to ensure that all South Africans, regardless of income, can access quality healthcare.

The system will work like a medical aid where the public can go to private doctors who have an agreement with government without paying upfront.

Last week, Mostoaledi said 3 336 of the 4 200 government hospitals and clinics across the country had been audited in preparation for the NHI.

He expressed concern about the preliminary findings, which indicate that public healthcare facilities are dirty and staff have a bad attitude towards patients.

This week, Motsoaledi said: “All provincial health MECs will be in Pretoria this weekend and we will have to come up with a solution on how to deal with cleanliness and staff attitudes in our facilities. We cannot provide quality healthcare when our facilities are dirty,” he said.

Cleanliness and staff attitudes are two of the six priority areas that will be assessed when healthcare facilities are accredited to provide NHI services.

The others are drug shortages, the safety and security of patients, infection control and waiting times for care.

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