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NC set to benefit from R500m health care boost

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“We are immediately reprioritising R350 million to recruit in excess of 2 000 health professionals into public health facilities.”

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THE NORTHERN Cape is likely to be one of the provinces that will benefit from the recruitment of more than 2 000 health professionals into public health facilities.

Tabling his Medium-Term Budget Policy in the National Assembly on Wednesday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said that government would reprioritise funds to make R350 million available to recruit new health professionals.

“Access to health care services is enshrined in our Constitution and in our Bill of Rights. We will continue to work closely with the national Department of Health and other role-players to ensure that the gradual phased implementation of the National Health Insurance is adequately financed.

“We are immediately reprioritising R350 million to recruit in excess of 2 000 health professionals into public health facilities.”

Mboweni said a further reprioritisation of funds would avail R150 million to be used to purchase beds and linen for hospitals where the need is more dire.

These two interventions will build on the Presidential Health Summit convened last weekend, which has brought a new focus to improving the quality of health care.

Meanwhile, the National Treasury said in its Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement that government is strengthening community-based services to improve primary health care and extending health coverage to all South Africans.

“Over the (next three years), an additional 2 200 critical medical posts will be created in provinces and medical student internships will expand.

“The Community Health Worker Programme will implement the minimum wage and funding is allocated to provinces from 2021/22 to support this. Funds are also provided to expand antiretroviral treatment in support of the universal test-and-treat policy.”

Mboweni added that in preparation for National Health Insurance, the Department of Health and the National Treasury were working on a new payment mechanism, based on the number of patients served, for contracted general practitioners.

The department will establish expert teams to assist provinces in mediation and litigation processes to manage medico-legal claims.

It was reported previously that the Northern Cape Department of Health faced legal claims amounting to more than R1 billion.