Attitudes must change - Motsoaledi

2010-10-06 14:00

Johannesburg - The South African health system can be improved despite the current shortage in human resources if health professionals change their attitudes, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Wednesday.

"We have been over-using the human resource excuse ... but we are still performing," Motsoaledi told a national consultation on quality health services in Kempton Park.

Countries like Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Slovakia who had a lesser budget than South Africa were performing better, he said.

"If I'm a construction worker, my attitude [towards my work] cannot be the same as someone working with human life."


He said government was in the process of overhauling the country's health system and that it was focusing on quality to improve the state of health.

As part of its intervention, government would introduce its National Health Insurance (NHI).

Motsoaledi said that private and public institutions would have to be accredited for the NHI.

These institutions would have to meet certain quality standards before they become part of the new system.

"We have had enough of people visiting our hospitals and coming back with horrible stories," he said.

The department would focus on six key problems in the current system including cleanliness, safety and security of patients, change of attitude in health professionals and patients, waiting time for patients at hospitals and drug stock out.


He highlighted that in the current system those private and public hospitals were engaging in "very destructive, unsustainable and expensive health care systems".

Giving an example of this, he said doctors that were the highest paid in the country were those treating complications caused by diseases such as diabetes.

He said the country got into this situation because of lack of accountability, and mediocrity.

During the seminar the country's health professionals would draw from experiences from others used in the UK to change its public health system.