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The Healthcare sector
South Africa’s healthcare sector, supported by 249,827 registered practitioners, performs a critical role in society providing essential services to the country’s population of more than 56.5 million people. With total expenditure rising to almost R378bn during the 2016/17 financial year, the sector accounts for approximately 8.3% of national GDP. Of this total amount, approximately R182.71bn is expected to be spent in public sector health facilities which serve more than 80% of the population while an estimated R189.08bn will be spent in the private sector.
National Health Insurance
The government aims to introduce National Health Insurance (NHI) in an effort to redress the inequalities in the country’s health sector. The Cabinet’s recent approval of the reissued NHI White Paper means that once implemented, all South African residents should be able to access quality healthcare services. However, most of the country’s public health facilities are under-resourced and over-extended and the recent collapse of public oncology services in Durban and the tragic consequences of Gauteng’s mental health crisis have further eroded confidence in a public health sector crippled by medical negligence claims. The funding of the new system remains a contentious subject and the Minister of Health announced possible adjustments to the tax credit on medical scheme contributions, which currently amount to around R20bn per annum. Other funding options include payroll tax, an increase in VAT and a personal income tax surcharge. The future role of private healthcare providers and medical schemes is also uncertain at present.
The detailed report on South Africa’s healthcare sector describes current conditions, developments and investments, as well as other factors that influence the success of the sector. The report profiles 25 companies that operate in the sector ranging from Busamed, a black-owned and operated national specialist private hospital network, to pathology practice, A C Mauff and Partners t/a Lancet Laboratories. Also profiled are two blood banks, the South African National Blood Service (SANBS) and the Western Province Blood Transfusion Services.