South Africa: Health Market Inquiry Report Welcomed

The launch of the Competition Commission's health market inquiry report.

The chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, has welcomed the Health Market Inquiry (HMI) report into the private sector.

The inquiry was headed by Justice Sandile Ngcobo.

Some of the findings in the HMI report indicate that government has failed in its duty to regulate the private health sector, which is neither efficient nor competitive.

The HMI was launched in January 2014 to investigate the high prices and uncompetitive nature of the private healthcare industry.

The inquiry was set to be completed within a year. The report was published on Monday after extensive consultation with industry experts, government officials and the general public.

Dhlomo said the committee needs to study the report and the recommendations in order to see how they can contribute towards the transformation of the health sector in the country.

"Therefore we need to have a new debate that says both private and public health sectors have got challenges as things stand, as a result we need to transform and get a new order in the healthcare delivery of the country," Dhlomo said.

"The messages that have been in the public domain that say, 'just fix the public hospitals and leave the private sector' do not hold water anymore. We need to begin to say while we would urge government to fix public hospitals and clinics, there is role that the private health sector can play to clean its house.

"Issues of regulation, overpricing, no competition and over treating are the key issues that are causing extraneous escalation for healthcare in the country and these need to be addressed and tackled by government," he said.

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