Docs oppose self-funding idea
Johannesburg - South Africa's largest doctor network has criticised as irresponsible a Cape-based doctor network's recommendation that medical aid scheme members insure themselves only for hospital cover and self-fund all day-to-day and specialist expenses.
Cape Primary Care, which represents 700 Cape doctors, put
forward this proposal on the grounds that it would save money for
the majority of medical aid scheme members who did not have chronic
conditions that needed regular medical attention and who visited health professionals infrequently.
But GPNet opposes the idea, saying that because most South
Africans are poor savers, they might not have the cash on
hand to self-fund visits to doctors, opticians, specialists and
other healthcare professionals if it suddenly becomes necessary.
This could lead to health needs being neglected or to the cost being shifted to the state.
GPNet chief executive Hennie Duvenhage said in a statement on
Thursday: "GPNet, South Africa's largest doctor network believes
that this (the proposal) is irresponsible and encourages patients
to fund for primary healthcare."
SA one of world's worst savers
"It presupposes that South Africans are good savers and will
have the cash available when they need to see a general
practitioner, specialist, fill a script or have extensive tests
Quoting the South African Savings Institute - a non-profit
organisation seeking to tackle the dire savings levels and
spiralling household debt in the country - he said South Africa
had one of the worst savings rates in the world.
This was significant because if a patient became ill and was
unable to visit a doctor or specialist in private practice, the
burden then fell on the state which already was unable to cope
with the demand for services," said Duvenhage.