Private healthcare a 'brutal' system

2011-10-09 22:21

Johannesburg - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi on Sunday said private healthcare was a "brutal" system because it had commercialised an essential service.

"How can we run such a brutal system...the government will not fold its arms when there is such rampant commercialisation in the healthcare sector," he said at a general practitioners' meeting in Durban.

He said the use of a public good for excessive profit was unacceptable, which was why the state had introduced the National Health Insurance (NHI).

Motsoaledi was consulting with general practitioners on the NHI as part of an interprovincial road show, following the release of the government's green paper in August.

He said private hospitals and specialists were receiving the majority of South Africa's R84bn health expenditure.

Private hospitals received R31.1bn and specialists received a total of R19bn.

"R14m goes to pharmaceuticals, R6.2bn goes to general practitioners and only the remainder [about R14bn] is for public healthcare and non-medical expenses."

The public would have till November to comment on the NHI discussion document.

A total of R125bn was estimated to be spent next year on preparations which include establishing 10 test sites.

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