IF THE ANC government now rightly believes that public hospitals are no longer able to provide the required quality of service to the general public, then the cause of the problem should surely be sought in the failure of the national and provincial administrations in maintaining the quality of the service.
All provincial hospitals provided quality health care to the lower income people at nominal costs and the provincial budgets were geared to ensuring the continued provision of quality service to the public.
National hospital schemes - even in so-called wealthy countries - place an increasingly escalating tax burden on taxpayers, without necessarily enabling them to continue providing the required service.
In South Africa the ratio of income taxpayers to non-income taxpayers lags far behind most other countries where national hospital schemes exist.
What this basically means is that the increased tax burden on income taxpayers in South Africa would be grossly disproportionate.
It would cost far less to embark on a positive programme of restoring quality service to all state hospitals.
Better management and also better remuneration of medical and nursing staff should be a priority.
Part of the problem in the country's health service is caused by the high number of qualified and competent doctors and nurses of all races who have left and who are continuing to leave South Africa.
A national health scheme will not solve the health problems of South Africa.
V Volker, Pietermaritzburg