Portfolio Committee of Health 15 February 2012

Here is some information from the Portfolio Committee of Health meeting in Parliament on Wednesday, 15 February 2012.

At the PC of Health this week the Health Minister, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, his deputy Dr Carol Marshall and the State Legal advisor spoke to the revised National Health Act.

They covered the following matters that required approval of the PC for the bill to go forward to the NCOP and then to President Jaco Zuma for approval into law. It seems from the Deputy Minister there could be some more consultation before signing of the Bill into a Act. What is also of interest is that this Bill has been around for change since 2003 – a long process so far.

Office of Health Standards, which will be established, will have three units namely:-

Office of Inspectorate

DoH sent 20 people for training in the UK. This was financed by the UK Government’s DFI. Dr A Motsoaledi said he did not want to reinvent the wheel. Interesting comment with my knowledge that Cohsasa could have been a more cost effective solution. The Minister invited Members of PC to visit this new unit at anytime as they have overall over sight responsibility for Parliament. There needs to be Independent of the Minister even though they Report to the Minister like HPCSA. Health officers or Environment care officers. These people are employed by the Office of Standards.

Office of Ombudsman.

It will be very busy initially. The Minister said “Now they the people go to the papers. Public servants never take accountability. It is always the Minister to take the accountability. This will help create correct accountability “

Office of Certification

Providers must be certified to deliver health care under the N.H.I. All providers, including hospitals, will be graded. UK grades the hospital from 1 to 8. Public then have access to the information for them to make a choice of appropriate facilities

Further comments

During question time Dr Carol Marshall was asked why don’t the DoH use the services of Cohsasa? The answer was interesting. She said that Cohsasa charges for their services and they evaluate both private and some public hospitals. However they wanted something more independent modeled on what the UK has and trained them on.

When questioned on staff structures she advised the PC that initially the new health standards unit will have 250 staff that will grow to about 500 once fully implemented.
Dr Motsoaledi said that two matters need to be fixed before we can have an effective N.H.I. namely:-

  1. Revamping and improving of the State system. This he said was on many levels and the 6 Core standards are just the first level required
  2. Fixing the pricing of health services in the Private sector. He said pricing will have to more regulated as it is just not affordable for many.

Dr Motsoaledi then spoke on quality standard and the way forward. He said the Department of Health has identified 6 core standards to focus on that the public can see and understand. There are others that are more complex. The initial visible top 6 core standard to be met are:-

  1. Cleanliness of facilities
  2. Safety and security of patients
  3. Attitudes to patient.
  4. Infection control
  5. Drug stop outs
  6. Long queues in the Public.

Number of changes in the Bill has been made in line with the input received from 28 parties including the 4 major hospitals .

There are provisions on the coordination amount regulators. This was an area of concern by many people who gave input on the Bill.

I hope you find this of interest. I am in the Portfolio of Health committee meetings every week if I am in Cape Town and I will continue to provide you with this type of summary if you find it of value.

If you have any comments please post them and also give me your feedback if this is valuable?

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