Free State doctor planning to leave the country ‘because of NHI’

Close up of African American hand holding stethoscope
Many oppose to the NHI Act are preparing to take legal action.

On Wednesday President Cyril Rampahosa signed the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill into law. The idea of an NHI has long faced opposition from various quarters of society. 

One of the major concerns raised was that introducing the NHI would result in the mass exodus of health workers. A survey by the South African Medical Association, a professional body of around 11 900 members, showed that 38% of its members planned to leave the country if the NHI was introduced. The survey was conducted several years back, but the worry of a brain drain is still present. 

Dr Thato Mosehle, a general practitioner in Thaba Nchu in the Free State, hoped the bill wouldn’t get signed. According to her, ‘the law would bring many medical service businesses to halt, and would cause the collapse of the health fraternity’. 

“The Act will bring many of us to a close. It will cause serious problems for us and medical aid schemes. We are making a living through the aid and with the introduction of the Act as a law we will not be able to survive,” she says.

Mosehle is set on relocating to Canada at the end of the year. 

“With the Act aiming to close down my practice I have decided to go to North America where I will be able to practise privately. I waited hoping that this day won’t come, but it has and we have spoken as a family to proceed with visa application processes,” she adds.

Mosehle does not believe that litigation will halt the implementation of the NHI. She argues ‘the law will increase taxes and collapse the health system, and that there aren’t enough medical practitioners or facilities for such a policy to work’.

“Where will the government get money from to implement the NHI? Do the public facilities which were being prepared for NHI have the capacity? I foresee problems and I won’t be available to witness such,” she says.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Freedom Front Plus (FF+) have  accused the ANC-led government of trying to collapse the health system if it moves ahead with the law.

The DA’s Dr Roy Jankelson says the system will collapse if “we go ahead with the ANC’s NHI pipe dream, especially considering the widespread shortages of healthcare funding across our provinces”.

“The NHI bill is being presented as the solution to all the health-related problems in the province. The NHI will, however, not address negligent doctors and nurses but will cost taxpayers more money.” 

The FF+ accuses President Ramaphosa of turning a blind eye to the root causes of the national health crisis.

“The bill will not provide the public with anything except bankrupting the government, this will collapse the healthcare system because it will cause many medical practitioners to leave the country for better ones,” the party says in a statement. – Health-e News


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