One emergency number on the cards – Motsoaledi

2015-12-11 15:39
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (GCIS)

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi. (GCIS)

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Pretoria - Gone are the days when an ambulance can leave a patient on the side of the road simply because he or she doesn't have a medical aid or money, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said on Friday.

“No ambulance is going to leave a patient behind. If they do, then they must not operate,” he said.

The announcement was just one of many that will form part of the National Health Insurance system which will make healthcare accessible to all South Africans.

Motsoaledi said there was a growing trend showing that many ambulance services attended only to people with medical aid and those who can afford to pay cash, while the poor suffered.

“We have not done anything before but we are doing something about it now. No ambulance can leave a patient behind. All ambulances will be one colour and there will be one control number for emergencies,” he said.

Motsoaledi released the White Paper on the NHI as approved by Cabinet ahead of Universal Health Coverage Day on December 12.

The NHI White Paper is a policy document that seeks to transform the healthcare system, emphasising the promotion of health and the prevention of diseases.

NHI is a health system that seeks to provide access to quality and affordable healthcare services for all South Africans based on their health needs, irrespective of their socioeconomic status.

He cautioned against trying to set a price on the system, saying it could be whatever amount the country decides on.

“It will cost what you decide it to be. We will design it in a way that it will be affordable for the entire country and it will be quality healthcare. It is in our hands and we must decide,” he said.

With the roll-out of the NHI, the role of medical aid schemes would be looked at, Motsoaledi said. Schemes would be used as top-up cover for services not covered by the NHI.

He said government would also look at its own medical aid schemes to see if they would still be necessary.

“Why should we have GEMS, Polmed and Palmed when we have the NHI? We will put money into the service for the entire population,” Motsoaledi said.

He conceded there would be challenges that would have to be dealt with before the system was perfect. 

He said the main aspects that needed to be changed were human resources issues, financial mismanagement, procurement and/or supply chain and infrastructure.

Read more on:    aaron motsoaledi  |  health

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