Health minister wants 'four hours a day' from doctors
Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi has made a plea to doctors in the private sector to contribute significantly if the government's National Health Insurance (NHI) is to be a success.
Speaking in Dundee, northern KwaZulu-Natal, ahead of his meeting with stakeholders - particularly senior government officials - to explain what is expected of them in the implementation of NHI, Motsoaledi said for the programme to succeed doctors in private institutions would have to play a huge role.
"Seventy percent of doctors in South Africa are in the private sector, and only 30% of them are in public or government institutions. This, compared to the 84% of people who rely on public health institutions, means that we need doctors in private practice to play a significant role," said Motsoaledi.
"I am meeting them as part of the pilot [project] because we want them in. I request them to give us four hours of their time every day. They must choose the clinic where they will see people who do not have medical aid," said Motsoaledi.
NHI will be piloted in 15 districts in the next five years and Motsoaledi is visiting all of them.
He said his department will pay the doctors from its own coffers as soon as they sign contracts agreeing to work in clinics.
"All we want from them is to get closer to the people, hence they must work in any of our clinics," Motsoaledi said.
Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan announced during his annual budget speech that he was giving R1-billion to pilot NHI.
Motsoaledi said he is also meeting traditional and religious leaders, and councillors.
"We need to meet every sector and explain to them how they are expected to work with private medical practitioners," said Motsoaledi.