Outsourcing to the private sector will be a waste of money for NHI


New research suggests that the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) could be a lot cheaper if the state makes use of its own trainee specialist doctors and uses in-house specialist services rather than hiring private specialists, - reported TimesLive (28 May 2021).

According to a study by Prof Nando Ferreira and colleagues from the orthopaedic surgery division at Stellenbosch University, hiring more orthopaedic registrars and expanding theatre times in state hospitals would save the government millions of rand.

In a South African Medical Journal (SAMJ) article, Ferreira said that increasing capacity in the state sector could be cheaper than private outsourcing. He showed that one registrar performed 157 surgeries, ranging from hip replacements to the removal of septic hands. Using current medical aid rates surgeon fees amounted to R186 565 a month, double the gross salary of a registrar, which was just more than R91 000, he said.

University of Cape Town (UCT) public health specialist Prof Leslie London said SA needs a comprehensive plan, not just more registrars.

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