Survey finds healthcare workers are uninformed about NHI scheme

21st August 2018 By: Anine Kilian - Contributing Editor Online

Nearly half of healthcare workers surveyed by the Solidarity Research Institute (SRI) have said they are not well informed about the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme.

Unpacking key findings of its ‘Healthcare Workers’ Knowledge, Insight and Opinion on the Proposed NHI’ report, in Pretoria, on Tuesday, SRI researcher and report compiler Nicolien Welthagen said that, of the 306 people who took part in the survey, 48% stated that they were not well informed about the NHI.

“The findings indicate that the State has not been doing enough to keep healthcare workers informed as far as the objectives, consequences and functions of the NHI are concerned,” she said.

She added that the general opinion of the respondents was negative and sceptical.   

“Most respondents were seriously concerned about the total control the State may have over healthcare and the functioning of healthcare staff. They were also worried that there were not going to be enough healthcare staff for the NHI [to function optimally],” she stated, adding that 8% of respondents believed the NHI would not be capable of successful implementation.

Three-quarters of the respondents believed the NHI would not succeed in improving healthcare and service delivery in South Africa, and the majority of them, or 81%, were of the opinion that the NHI could destabilise the healthcare system and would contribute to medical staff leaving the country.

She further pointed out that, by implementing the NHI, the State aimed to resolve critical problem areas in the South African healthcare sector, including the unequal distribution of quality healthcare and the fact that medical aid funds and private medical services are unaffordable for the majority of the population.

Seventy-five per cent of survey respondents agreed that medical aid funds are unaffordable.  

“The [NHI] White Paper that was released in June is vague and shows a lack of actual detail regarding the extent of functioning and implementation of the NHI. This underlines the amount of thinking, planning and work that still has to be done before 2025 – the date given for full implementation of the programme,” she said.