Private doctors lose out as South Africans opt for state clinics

Public health institutions are still a first port of call for the majority of households whose members fall ill or have accidents.

This is the finding of the General Household Survey 2015‚ an annual household survey conducted by StatsSA since 2002.

The survey is aimed at determining the progress of development in the country and measures the performance of programmes as well as the quality of service delivery in a number of key service sectors in the country‚ including health.

The survey showed that about 70.5% of households said that they would first go to public clinics or hospitals compared to 25.3% of households that said that they would first consult a private doctor‚ or go to a private clinic or hospital.

StatsSA said only 0.5% of respondents said that they would first go to a traditional healer.

 “It is noticeable that the percentage of households that would go to public or private facilities have remained relatively constant since 2004 when the question was first asked in the General Household Survey.”

This could be attributed to the low number of households with medical aid.

The survey found that between 2002 and 2015‚ the percentage of individuals covered by a medical aid scheme increased by approximately 1.6 percentage points to 17.5%.

“During this time the number of individuals who were covered by a medical aid scheme increased from 7.3 million to 9.5 million persons‚” StatsSA

Nearly a quarter (23.5%) of South African households had at least one member who belonged to a medical aid scheme.

The survey showed that 73.3% of white individuals were members of a medical aid scheme‚ compared to 44.5% of Indian/Asian individuals while only a paltry 10.6% of black Africans had such membership.

“It is still worth noting that the overall percentage of individuals covered by a medical scheme in the whole country is still worryingly low at 17.5%.”

The survey said the percentage of households that would first go to public clinics increased noticeably while those that indicated that they would first go to public hospitals decreased.

However users of private healthcare facilities seemed to be more satisfied with those facilities than users of public healthcare facilities across all provinces.

Whereas 97.7% of users were satisfied with private facilities‚ only 81.1% of users of public healthcare facilities were somewhat satisfied or very satisfied.

Only 57.6% of individuals that used public healthcare facilities were very satisfied.

 

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