THE Western Cape government is warming up to National Health Insurance (NHI), the African National Congress (ANC)-led national government’s plan to ensure that all South Africans have access to healthcare irrespective of their employment status.
The only Democratic Alliance (DA)-run province in the country launched the NHI pilot project in February in the Eden district on the Garden Route.
There are 10 NHI sites in the country that are "piloting" various models around the country.
The DA in the province said the plan was well on track, with more than 12,000 school children in the Eden district having already been screened by health workers.
THE National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot project for the Western Cape would emphasise providing healthcare to schoolchildren in the Eden district, particularly those in grade R and grade 1.
However, the project’s main purpose was to look at how primary healthcare could be "re-engineered" in the future, provincial health MEC Theuns Botha said at the launch of the pilot in a packed George town hall on Monday.
The Integrated School Health Programme includes health assessments for hearing, sight, gross motor functions, weight, height and oral health.
The hospital where the world's first heart transplant was performed celebrated 75 years of existence today. Groote Schuur Hospital in the Western Cape continues to be a world leader in medicine; A world renowned institution.
More than 40 million patients have received treatment here; and that is no small feat. Western Cape Health Minister Theuns Botha says: "75 years is a wonderful achievement Groote Schuur Hospital - it is an international renowned hospital. Many breakthroughs have been made over many years in this hospital. It is a huge platform for academic training and it is really a hospital of excellence."
Certain patients living the Western Cape and making use of public health services will be able to lodge their complaints via a system which enables patients to call, text or e-mail a complaint with a same-day response.
PRESS RELEASE: The Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, today announced a pilot project to address patient complaints. This is an initiative by Minister Botha to create a communication channel for patients who are unhappy about health services, and to receive a quick response.
In order to enable residents to voice their health concerns, district health councils have been established all around the Western Cape, with the latest being the Cape Town metro district health council launched yesterday by the Western Cape health MEC Theuns Botha.
This brings the total district health councils established in the province to six, as per the requirement of the National Health Act.
"The district health council will become the mouthpiece of the community to the provincial health council," said Botha.
Speaking at the launch, Botha said the first obligation was for the district health council to start drafting health plans, as different districts had different disease profiles and needed different infrastructure.
Premier Helen Zille and the National Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, officially opened the new Khayelitsha Hospital on 17 April 2012.
The 240-bed medical facility will provide support to the surrounding primary healthcare facilities to ensure that patients receive care at the lowest level of entry into the healthcare system. In future, if required, there is a design potential to expand to 390 beds.
The hospital provides quality healthcare to approximately 500 000 to 1 500 000 people in the Khayelitsha area. It is expected to lighten the load of the overburdened GF Jooste and Tygerberg hospitals.
Although the Western Cape does not support the National Health Insurance (NHI) green paper in its current form, that does not mean the province will not participate in the NHI pilot projects, health MEC Theuns Botha said yesterday.
About half a million people in the Western Cape stand to benefit from the rollout of the NHI pilot project due to start next month.
Last week, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced that Eden District Municipality (which includes Mossel Bay and Knysna) would be one of 10 sites selected for the pilot project.
Dr Motsoaledi said the public could expect a general improvement in the quality of healthcare and health infrastructure.
The Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, officially opened the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Kwanokuthula station today (3 October 2011). Aimed to service the Bitou district community of approximately 60 000 occupants, the station will service the communities of Harkersville, Kranshoek, Wittedrift, New Horizons, Kwanokuthula, Bossiesgif, Welcome Location, the Crags, Covie and the Natures Valley.
Western Cape Government Health has prioritised the establishment of health facilities in communities, locating them closer to communities, ensuring better service delivery and public accessibility.
Western Cape health MEC Theuns Botha is in talks with Fresenius Medical Care to set up a public-private partnership to provide kidney dialysis to state patients
CAPE TOWN — Western Cape health MEC Theuns Botha is in talks with Fresenius Medical Care to set up a public-private partnership to provide kidney dialysis to state patients.
Kidney dialysis is strictly rationed in the state sector, as it is a costly procedure . The potential deal with Fresenius is the latest in a string of public-private partnerships that the MEC has been investigating since he took office two years ago. In May, the provincial health department concluded a deal with GVI Oncology to provide radiation therapy to cancer patients living in and around George, a move intended to relieve some of the burden placed on Cape Town hospitals.
As is the case in the GVI Oncology deal, the provincial health department plans to pay Fresenius a set sum each month to provide services for a specific number of patients.
The rate will be less than the cost of providing the same treatment at a state hospital, said Mr Botha. The MEC said he hoped to start selling companies the branding rights to hospitals and clinics next year.
The idea would be to tap into the corporate social investment funds of big business, and use the money to "upgrade the look and feel" of state health facilities, Mr Botha said.
The funds would be used to tackle maintenance backlogs and modernise basics such as the furniture in waiting rooms.
Consultants were researching companies’ appetite for this scheme, and investigating the scope for a voluntary "health levy" for private healthcare providers.
The levies would be paid into a trust, which would provide coupons for free private healthcare to as yet undetermined categories of state patients. Mr Botha said he was also looking into the possibility of granting contracts to private-sector providers to perform cataract and orthopaedic procedures to reduce waiting lists, much as the UK’s National Health Service had done with private hospital group Netcare .