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Health dept avails NHI white paper to public

The document outlines the steps government will take to implement its universal healthcare system.

Health minister Aaron Motsoaledi. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says while Cabinets' adoption of the white paper on the National Health Insurance(NHI) scheme is a positive development, government still has a long way to go to implement the system.

The Health Department is making the white paper available for public engagement and comment.

The document outlines the steps government will take to implement its universal healthcare system.

Motsoaledi says the implementation of the insurance scheme will be a lengthy and meticulous process.

"It's not going to be a sprint, it's a marathon; not an ordinary marathon, an ultra-marathon.

He says, in the end socio-economic status will no longer dictate who in South Africa can access quality healthcare.

"You don't classify people according to their socio-economic status; you classify them according to their health needs."

The scheme will be implemented in three phases - to see free quality healthcare become effective by 2030.

Motsoaledi says South Africa needs a massive reorganisation of both the public and private healthcare systems for all citizens to access affordable care.

He has briefed the media in Pretoria on the newly adopted national health insurance white paper.

The minister says through the NHI, government plans to cause an innovative disruption of the healthcare sector.

PRIVATE HEALTH CARE UNAFFORDABLE, PUBLIC SECTOR STRUGGLING

Motsoaledi says the private healthcare sector is 'simply unaffordable'.

"There are lot of patients who have been removed from the Intensive Care Unit, or even sometimes in a coma, where they just say 'we have phoned the medical scheme, the money is finished. You need to go to a public hospital.'"

He says the public health sector is struggling to provide quality services.

"The wrong people are being appointed in the wrong places; patronage and cronyism [is rife], as well as poor planning development and management of human resources."

He says the way South Africa's healthcare system is structured, at the moment, gives quality healthcare to the elite - while poorer people are forced to use second class services.