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Minister admits that after spending R26 billion, state hospitals and clinics still do not meet the standards for NHI accreditation

The Minister of Health, Joe Phaahla, admitted yesterday that after spending R26 billion, the country’s state hospitals and clinics still do not meet the standards required for NHI accreditation.

This was gleaned from a reply to a question by the FF Plus in which the Minister was asked whether he could honestly say that the infrastructure at state hospitals and clinics meets the standards required for NHI accreditation.

The Minister admitted that the facilities are not up to standard. He said that the Office of Health Standards Compliance regularly provides the Department with updates on standards and that there is still “a lot that needs to be done”.

Clause 39 of the National Health Insurance Bill stipulates that in order to be accredited by the Fund to deliver healthcare services, such an institution or establishment must be in possession of a certification by the Office of Health Standards Compliance.

The FF Plus expects that this could pose problems seeing as the Office in question does not have nearly enough inspectors to inspect all the facilities, whether public or private, in the country.

The annual budget allocated to this Office is inadequate, it experiences problematic staff shortages and in November 2022, it had only 42 inspectors in its employ.

The situation substantiates the FF Plus’s stance of the last four years, namely, that the NHI cannot be implemented before all the infrastructure at state and provincial hospitals and clinics is at least brought up to standard.

Government wants to use the NHI to suck the private healthcare system dry like a parasite, because its own infrastructure is currently in a state of absolute disrepair.

The amount of R26 billion that has already been spent to prepare the country’s public healthcare system for the NHI has been thrown into a bottomless pit.

It has made no visible difference to pressing problems, such as backlogs with medical procedures, the appointment of doctors and nurses, and the upgrading of infrastructure.

South Africa is currently sitting on a ticking time bomb and the FF Plus warns that the country’s entire healthcare system could collapse completely if the NHI is written into the law book.

Private healthcare will be totally consumed by the NHI until there is nothing left for anyone. The ANC is simply too incompetent and dishonest to be entrusted with this.

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