Ramaphosa failed to ensure NHI improves SA healthcare, doctors and medical workers say

Ramaphosa failed to ensure NHI improves SA healthcare

Doctors and medical professionals have taken aim at President Cyril Ramaphosa as he is expected to sign the controversial National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into law this week, saying the legislation in its current form will limit instead of improve healthcare for South Africans.
The South African Health Professionals Collaboration (SAHPC), which represents more than 25 000 dedicated private and public sector healthcare workers, said its disappointment at the announcement stems from the “potential consequences the unworkable bill may inflict on the healthcare landscape.”

“Our members have made submissions at every stage of the legislative process, dating back to the release of the Green Paper in 2011. It is disheartening to see our efforts to contribute to a more robust, workable and patient-centric healthcare system being ignored,” SAHPC spokesperson Dr. Simon Strachan said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Where we are now is unprecedented, and we believe that the NHI, in its current form will reverse, rather than progress, equitable, quality healthcare in South Africa. We have no doubt that the NHI Bill will be challenged in the courts, and we are currently exploring all our options in this regard.

“As experts in our field, we believe the president has an obligation to ensure that the NHI improves, rather than limits overall healthcare for every citizen. He has failed to do this,” Strachan said.

READ | NHI: Business gears up for possible legal battle as Ramaphosa set to make ‘damaging’ bill law

Business Unity SA (BUSA) said earlier on Tuesday that it will also consider legal action.

“We will pay close attention to the president’s announcement on Wednesday, based on which we will consider our options,” BUSA CEO Cas Coovadia said.

“Our subsequent actions will be guided by our belief that it is essential that we get the NHI right through all means still at our disposal, including appropriate legal interventions, so that the legislation that is finally implemented is in the best interest of our country, and all her people, for generations to come.”

Coovadia previously told News24 in an interview that if the bill was implemented in its current form, it could result in a flight of doctors from South Africa. He also said at the time that the only explanation for rushing the bill into law in its current form was the upcoming national elections.