In partnership with

Private hospital prices 'disgusting'

Feb 04 2011 07:18

Pretoria - Under South Africa's highly commercialised private health system it was possible for a nurse to charge patients R23 000 for every wound dressing she did, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said in Pretoria on Thursday.

Motsoaledi, speaking at the inauguration of the new Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), said: "We cannot afford this commercial health system."

Citing a case where a nurse was being investigated for charging patients R23 000 for every wound dressed, Motsoaledi said that such practises of profiting were "bleeding" the country.

"It is disgusting the service costs that are being charged in the private health system. There is no reason people must be charged so exhorbitantly."

He cited a case where a person was billed R1.2m by a private hospital in South Africa for a simple laparotomy - operation on the abdomen.

While the public health system "was in crisis" there were problems in the private health system that were very often not highlighted.

In the private sector there were many instances where "tests are just ordered to make money".

Motsoaledi said it was also worrying that many senior doctors who were supposed to be working full time for the public health system were also working full time in private practice.

The new HPCSA president Sam Mokgokong urged the minister to consider placing teaching hospitals directly under the jurisdiction of the national health department rather than provincial health departments.

He said that to prevent strikes affecting the public health sector, the national health department should be proactive and act to address staff grievances before strikes affected the hospitals.

healthcare  |  private hospitals



Read Fin24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Company Snapshot

We're talking about: MINI BUDGET

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba has laid bare South Africa's economic woes. Visit our Mini Budget Special for all the action.

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

Free education in South Africa is:

Previous results · Suggest a vote