Friday, 22 June 2018
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) notes the release of two critical bills that intend to shape the country’s healthcare system towards realization of universal access to health for all South Africans – Medical Schemes Amendment Bill and National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill – which are out for public comment.
DENOSA believes that the release of the bills takes the country a few steps towards this goal of achieving universal health coverage. The injustice in the creation of two health systems in the country – the private healthcare which is catering specifically for the 16% of South African income-earners who can afford to pay and the public healthcare for both medical scheme members and those who are either unemployed or in informal employment.
Creating a single healthcare funding mechanism for ALL South Africans’ health needs was always the logical and non-discriminatory route the country needed to have taken a long time ago. May the processes of setting up structures of NHI as well as finalization of its financing model move faster.
In the Medical Schemes Amendment Bill, DENOSA is particularly happy with the proposals to do away with the co-payment provision, abolishing of brokers and the abolishing of Prescribed Minimum Benefits (PMBs). These will surely have positive effects on the lowering of costs for those belonging to medical schemes, and that the schemes will also be forced to include primary healthcare in their packages.
As an organisation for nurses who are majority health professionals, we understand that it is impossible to eradicate every deficiency in the country’s healthcare system before NHI is ushered in. However, we feel that there should be a clearly defined forward-looking way of dealing with the current backlog of problems, particularly the issue of the severe shortage of nurses and other health professionals who will be greatly needed if both quality and affordable healthcare is to be achieved. Currently, we do not see that forward-looking commitment and solutions-based plan, and already we are entering the second-phase of NHI.
One such solution, which DENOSA will include in its comments to the NHI Bill, is the essence of reopening the previously closed nursing colleges so that production levels of nursing professionals could satisfy the country’s dire need.
NHI gives great emphasis on primary healthcare, and primary healthcare is dominated by nursing cadres with Schools Health programme and the introduction of Community Health Workers at the apex of it, both of which are dominated by nursing cadres.
DENOSA really hopes that the minister finds it in his good heart to accept that there a need to fulfill the promise made by government in 2011 to reopen and revitalize the previously closed nursing colleges, and that the Treasury and Presidency see the importance of this in line with the achievement of NHI.
DENOSA congratulates government for releasing these two ground-breaking bills as they stand to benefits patients and communities.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)
For more information, contact:
Simon Hlungwani, DENOSA President.
Mobile: 082 328 9635
Cassim Lekhoathi, DENOSA Acting General Secretary
Mobile: 082 328 9671
Facebook: DENOSA National Page