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NHI hearings to kick off

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The portfolio committee on health will hold public hearings in the Northern Cape next week on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

THE PORTFOLIO committee on health will hold public hearings in the Northern Cape next week on the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

In a statement issued by the chairperson of the portfolio committee on health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, the objective of the bill is to achieve universal access to quality health care services in South Africa.

The committee called for written submissions from the public on the bill at the beginning of September 2019, and the closing date for the submissions is November 29, 2019.

In the Northern Cape, hearings will kick off in Kimberley at the City Hall on Friday, November 1, at 4.30pm to 8.30pm. On Saturday (November 2) they will be held in the De Aar Town Hall at 10am to 3pm; on Sunday (November 3), it will be at the Toll Speelman Hall in the Dawid Kruiper Local Municipality, at 10am to 3pm; and on Monday the hearings will be held in the Concordia Community Hall in the Namakhoi Local Municipality, from 4.30pm to 8.30pm.

Meanwhile in Kimberley, members of the public have lashed out at the Northern Cape Department of Health after a “consultative session” on the National Health Bill organised by the provincial department on Friday last week, seemingly did not take place.

The department ran large advertisements in the local media inviting “all general practitioners, specialists and allied health professionals” to the session which was scheduled to take place at the Northern Cape Theatre on Friday at 5.30pm for 6pm.

“I arrived at the advertised venue shortly before 6pm only to be met by locked gates. When I asked the security guard on duty, who was the only person there, what was happening he informed me that he knew about the planned event but no one had made arrangements to use the theatre and, as a result, the venue would not be opened,” a member of the public said yesterday.

He noted that while the concept of universal health care coverage for all South African residents is good, the implementation thereof will be fraught with problems due to such evident mismanagement as not even being able to organise a simple meeting.