Sharing responsibility

An article by Tamar Kahn in the Business Day late last month caught my eye. In it she quoted Department of health director-general, Precious Matsoso, as saying The Mental Health Care Amendment Bill was published for public comment on July 20 last year, and “no substantial comment was received”.

I know she doesn’t actually say that nobody responded at all, but it did make me think about our own personal responsibility to be active participants in the governance of our country and in the shaping of our health systems.

As I have mentioned before, I attend the Health Portfolio committee meetings in Parliament. These are open to the public, but very few people take advantage of the opportunity this affords.

In a recent Portfolio Committee meeting, Mental Health was under the spotlight. Amendments to the mental Health Bill which were discussed included the sensible suggestion to delegate responsibility for overseeing state mental patients to qualified local officials rather than the full responsibility remaining in the hands of the Minister.

The chairman, Dr Bevan Goqwana, said that the proposed amendments where straight forward.

Many on the committee and in the wider medical community feel that more should be done in this important and growing area. It is also an area that does not get much attention and, because of the stigma attached, is over looked.

Sadly it is a growing problem in South Africa and around the globe. Medical schemes also only pay for the bare minimum they have to legally when it is an area that can have such a major positive impact in society at large.


4 thoughts on “Sharing responsibility

  1. Len, the Act makes not substantial changes to the regulatory regime at all – it merely provides for powers to be delegated, and for the NHA hospital boards to become also the boards at Mental Health establishments. I’d rather they’d listen to us when we REALLY comment and are upset at things, e.g. on the OHSC and the amendments to the Medicines Act.

    • Elsabe. I agree and hence I am finding that spending time in the PC as often as is humanly possible gives us an opportunity to have a real impact on discussions. Trust between Politicians and the private sector is not great and really needs to improve. Like any relationship it requires time and effort.

      I appreciate you reading my blog and please feel free to continue to raise issues we must consider and any thoughts and ideas are most welcomed:):)

  2. I believe too the changes “so called” is a vague way of not having to adress the issue! Constitutionally its against these humans human rights!

    • Antoinette always remember that our rights under section 27 of the Constitution is also guided by a section latter on in the Constitution that states this right is based on what we as a country can affords and is not open ended. Hence the stricter protocols in the State/Public healthcare system. What we also need to remember is that Medical schemes and the private funded sector is an insured guaranteed range of benefits with in many cases no limits on especially Hospitalisation. Antoinette do you not think that maybe it is this fact that has resulted in a massive blow out in Hospital based costs escalations over the past 10 years?

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