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SA’s NHI Bill not properly thought through, says doctors’ forum

Last week, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize released the NHI Bill that sets out to provide access to healthcare to all South Africans, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Picture: Pexels

CAPE TOWN - The South African Private Practitioners’ Forum (SAPPF) said the current National Health Insurance (NHI) model would cause irreparable harm to the country’s entire healthcare industry.

Last week, Health Minister Zweli Mkhize released the NHI Bill that sets out to provide access to healthcare to all South Africans, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Parliament's health committee was expected to meet to discuss the bill, which would pave the way for an extensive public consultation process.

The financial management of the NHI was flagged as a major concern as well as the possible exodus of medical personnel as a result of its implementation.

SAPPF CEO Dr Chris Archer said the forum supported the need for reform in the public and private healthcare sectors but warned the NHI proposal was not properly thought through.

“It’s not affordable given our current circumstances, we don’t have the manpower to provide those services. It will alienate and destroy the medical aid industry in our view,” he said.

The Department of Health said a mandatory prepayment system would be used to fund the NHI. Its main source of funding would, however, be from appropriations and general tax revenue.

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