This decline is despite the government’s own White Paper recognising that spending on health will have to double if quality healthcare is to be provided to all through the Health Insurance (NHI).
After a decade of stalling NHI funding and the continued failure to regulate the private health market, people will be forgiven for wondering if NHI delayed means NHI denied.
That is certainly the effect of the 2019 budget proposals.
As most commentators focused on the latest Eskom bailout plan, another illuminating story could be found in health. The lines of numbers presented in budgets always reveal what the state really wants to do — no amount of rhetoric can disguise them.
Here are two figures to be concerned about:
Medico-legal claims have grown from R28.6bn in March 2015 to R80.4bn in March 2018. In many provinces, these claims (and their associated legal costs) now equate to more than half the annual provincial health budget; and
And will the nurses and doctors who have left the public health system due to deteriorating conditions be encouraged to return by conflicting proposals on “reducing public sector head counts” and “filling critical health posts”?
But Treasury officials admit behind the scenes that they are considering how to hide the escalating contingent liabilities from the state’s balance sheet. These avoidance and distraction methods typify the worst aspects of the 2019 budget. In the absence of a strategy from the minister of health for widespread quality improvement, the National Treasury will continue to seek ways to plaster over the cracks of ailing public health services, while denying the funding necessary to build a new, integrated national health system.
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The health minister may know how to stitch up a wound but certainly not able to find where all the funds are disappearing to. Same as all the Govt. departments. Mega inflated supply prices and Ghost suppliers.Time you woke up Aaron and started looking, the funds are there.