According to Bhoola, 70 percent of specialists practise in the private sector,
while just 30 percent service the public sector. That means 85 percent of
the population is being treated by only 30 percent of the country's specialists,
which translates into a huge imbalance, he said.
Bhoola said in Durban alone, the private health sector had more than 50
radiologists, while the government faced a shortage of radiologists and had less
than 200 nationally. Hasa has long been of the view that public
private-partnerships are the future in this country, but government has been
very slow in embracing this idea. Some provinces have gone a long way towards
progress, but there is a great deal of red tape, which hinders
On the expense of private healthcare, Bhoola said all countries had a private
In the UK, for example, 90 percent of the population is on the National
Health System and 10 percent is on private care, although the percentage on
private care is increasing ''Life is about choices. Just like cars, where Toyota is for the mass market
and some people prefer to drive BMWs, people should have a choice in their
medical care too'', he said. There are 167 private hospitals in the country,
of which 75 percent to 80 percent are owned by Netcare, Medi-Clinic and Afrox.
The annual reinvestment in the private healthcare sector's technology is
estimated to be R1 billion, and the total annual salary bill for private
hospitals is R5.5 billion or 31.5 percent of turnover. Anban Pillay, the health
department's director of pharmaceutical pricing, said the idea of private-public
partnerships was encapsulated in the National Health Act.
Partnerships are already written into law and the government will
definitely be pursuing and entering into such agreements. Our only concern is to
ensure we don't rush into situations where we end up paying for expensive
resources, Pillay said.
(Soure: Business report, February 11, 2005)