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 .