Call to redress health imbalance

The Health Minister MantoTshabalala-Msimang yesterday bemoaned the increasing gap between public and private health spending, saying the imbalance was unethical.

The Health Minister MantoTshabalala-Msimang yesterday bemoaned the increasing gap between public and private health spending, saying the imbalance was unethical.

"It cannot be just or ethical for the per capita expenditure in the private sector to be seven to eight times that of the public sector," she said.

In her speech read at the South African Health Review for this year, tabled in Cape Town yesterday, Tshabalala-Msimang said her department would soon table legislation to address the inequality.

"Next year, we will be using legislative changes and other means available to ensure that the health sector genuinely contributes to the realisation of the right of access to healthcare as enshrined in our Constitution."

The review, which is conducted by the Health Systems Trust, an independent organisation, shows that private health- care sector spending for 2005 amounted to R60billion while R40billion was spent in the public sector in the same year.

Stephen Harrison, who is the editor of the review, said there was need for the government to undertake immediate steps to address the imbalance.

"This year's review suggests the need for significant policy and legislative interventions to redress growing imbalances between private and public sectors of the South African health system," he said. - Sapa

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