SOUTH AFRICA: Gauteng Health Dept to Tackle Non-Paying Patients

March 2016 news24wire; An electronic patient record system is in the pipeline to assist the department of health identify patients who falsely claim to be unemployed to avoid paying for public health services, Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu said on Tuesday.

“There are people who can pay but they hide behind unemployment even when they have an income,” Mahlangu told News24 following a budget speech presentation by Finance MEC Barbara Creecy at the Gauteng Legislature.

“So we are going to eliminate that… [by] making sure that those who can afford to pay for the treatment must pay.”

Creecy had allocated R37.4 billion to the health department, the second highest budget item after the education department which received R39.06 billion.

She had announced that R213 million of the department’s budget would continue to fund the ICT infrastructure, which included the electronic filing of patient information.

The three main areas of funding would be primary health care, which included free health care for children and pregnant women, the HIV and Aids programme, which served more than 1 million patients with anti-retroviral therapy as well as the treatment of tuberculosis, a companion disease of HIV and Aids.

Mahlangu said part of the funding would also go towards beefing up clinic resources.

“When you have a headache you go to the clinic, when you are pregnant and you want to take your ante-natal services care, you go to the clinic and when the child is coughing, you go to the clinic.

“So we must make [sure] that the clinic works, make sure that they have got a sufficient number of nurses and all of that,” Mahlangu said.

She said she was pleased that despite budget constraints, Creecy had allowed for the department to employ medical staff to assist with the growing demand of healthcare services across the province.

“The other important matter, going forward, is to ensure that the budget is managed very prudently and make sure that we deliver additional resources and additional services to people without turning [anyone] away.

“I think with the additional resources, we must get additional pairs of hands and we must get instruments and be able to also provide medication in a… more stable way,” she said.



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