ANC slams health plan reports

2009-06-08 18:59

Johannesburg - The ANC criticised media reports of its health plan on Monday and vowed to continue its efforts.

"We will transform healthcare in South Africa and will not be deterred by narrow interest groups and individuals bent on undermining the introduction of NHI before its work is made public," ANC spokesperson Jesse Duarte said in a statement.

"The ANC has noted with concern media reports attempting to deflect public attention away from the crucial work of the National Health Insurance (NHI) task team."

On Friday the Hospital Association of SA (Hasa) issued a statement saying that health economist Alex van den Heever told its conference in Durban that from his knowledge of the NHI, the system was a "completely unworkable, unaffordable solution that won't improve health services despite massive increases in expenditure".

Increasing health budget by R100bn

Van den Heever said one of the proposals made in the yet-to-be released document, compiled by the ANC task team researching the matter, was increasing the health budget by R100bn.

"The danger is that there seems to be an attempt to avoid debate on this issue," he said.

"The documents have been produced, but have not been subjected to external peer review or technical analysis," Van den Heever was quoted as telling conference delegates.

Duarte said the accusations of critics such as Van den Heever were without substance.

"Unsubstantiated claims of an NHI 'secret report' and 'non-consultative' approach of the NHI task team are untrue and only seek to create public confusion," she said.

The ANC was going through an "internal process" on the NHI policy and would only make public statements once it was concluded, said Duarte.

Avoiding public debate

The Democratic Alliance on Monday attacked this process.

"As things stand, it appears that the ANC is trying to force through its implementation by avoiding public debate on the matter," said DA MP and health spokesperson Mike Waters in a statement.

"There are no parliamentary health committee meetings scheduled yet to discuss this.

There must be more room for public input."

Waters accused the ANC of making the NHI policy "covered in a cloak of secrecy" and without consulting experts.