Congratulations to Professor Malegapuru William Makgoba for winning the BHF Titanium Award in the category “Creating Access to Health Care” on the of Life Esidimeni Investigations
June 20, 2018
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Comments on the NHS vs NHI at the launch of the NHI White Paper by the Health Ombud

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SUMMARY

With the release of the White paper for public comments, this provides an opportunity to listen and discuss with each other as South Africans to find the best way/s to translate the NHI within our context. We dare not fail on this ambitious challenge.

South Africa’s NPC recommended Universal Health Care (NHI) as the policy option in 2012, almost 3 years before the UN and WHO, as part of its recommendation to address the triple challenges of Poverty, Inequality and Unemployment. This was endorsed by all political parties in Parliament and must now be implemented.

 

In the 70 years of the UK’s NHS existence, there has never been a debate or question in Britain about whether the NHS should exist or not or that it should be reviewed.

Over the 70 years of the UK’s NHS existence passionate debates have and continue to take place on matters of governance, manpower (human resources), leadership and funding. These are real painful implementation issues, all meant to improve the functioning and better translation of the NHS concept in reality on the ground.

The current Minister of Health has led and championed Universal Health Care. He started the race, led the race and must complete the race. Translated properly, the NHI will not only address all the challenges we currently face within the Health System but also transform the system fundamentally and progressively Quality Universal HealthCare (NHI) will not be cheap and has never been cheap anywhere but must be implemented without further delays. NHI is the most important and only transformative process of our health System needed. The rich of our country must subsidise the poor to establish and provide universal health care. They must shoulder this responsibility with pride.

 

THE FULL STATEMENT

 

  1. The National Health Service (NHS) was born on July 5th 1948 out of a long-held ideal that good healthcare should be available to all, regardless of wealth. When health secretary Aneurin Bevan opened Park Hospital in Manchester it was the climax of a hugely ambitious plan to bring good healthcare to all and in so doing transform the health system of the UK.
  2. For the first-time hospitals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, opticians and dentists were brought together under one umbrella organization, the NHS, that is free for all at the point of delivery. The central principles were clear: the health service will be available to all and financed entirely from taxation, which means that people pay into it according to their means. The rich must subsidise the poor to establish and provide universal health care.
  3. It was the British response to address the severe effects of the 2 wars and great depression that had left the nation with severe Poverty and Inequality (‘Health Disparities’).
  4. Little was realized then that the NHS would become an important model for equitable access to Universal Health Care. Universal Health Care started in Norway in 1912.
  5. Harry Leslie Smith, a 91-year old RAF veteran, born into an impoverished (poor) mining family remembers life before the NHS as a life/existence of ‘Hunger, filth, fear and death’ and unemployment.
  6. Many Notable Achievements since its establishment.

 

2009 – New NHS Constitution

The NHS Constitution was published on January 21 and sets out your rights as an NHS patient. The NHS Constitution was published on January 21 2009. For the first time in the history of the NHS, the Constitution brings together details of what staff, patients and the public can expect from the NHS. It aims to ensure the NHS will always do what it was set up to do in 1948: provide high-quality healthcare that’s free and for everyone.

 

2009 – New Horizons programme launched

The New Horizons programme was launched to improve adult mental health services in England. New Horizons brings together local and national organisations and individuals to work towards a society that values mental wellbeing as much as physical health. It aims to cover a person’s lifetime, from building the foundations of good mental health in childhood to maintaining resilience in older age. It also emphasises the importance of prevention, effective treatment and recovery.

 

2009 – NHS Health Checks

The NHS Health Check was introduced for adults in England between the ages of 40 and 74. Primary care trusts begin implementing the NHS Health Check programme in April 2009. It has the potential to prevent an average of 1,600 heart attacks and strokes and save up to 650 lives each year. It could prevent over 4,000 people a year from developing diabetes and detect at least 20,000 cases of diabetes or kidney disease earlier, allowing people to manage their condition better and improving their quality of life.

 

  1. The NHS is turning 70 years in 16 days’ time. The UK is thus 70 years ahead of us.

 

Since then, Universal Health Care has become accepted as norm and the best option to address the national challenges of Poverty and Inequalities (Disparities) in Health. In the USA it’s called Obamacare (2014). Over 100 countries have adopted or are in the process of moving into NHI.

 

The WHO has declared Universal Health Care as best and only policy option to address Health Inequities globally and so has the UN in its Sustainable Development Goals, ‘SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages’.

 

South Africa’s NPC recommended Universal Health Care (NHI) as the policy option in 2012, almost 3 years before the UN and WHO as part of its recommendation to address the triple challenges of Poverty, Inequality and Unemployment. This was endorsed by all political parties in Parliament.

 

In the 70 years of the NHS existence, there has never been a debate or question in Britain about whether the NHS should exist or not or that it should be reviewed.  As South Africans. we should therefore not focus our discussion or debates on accepting the principle or the concept of Universal Health Care. We should take this as a given.

Like in many countries, the concept should be accepted as it offers the only and best option currently available. The NHI is in line with our Constitution and NHA. It is the most transformative concept to our Health System since the dawn of our democracy.

 

  1. The current Minister of Health has led and championed Universal Health Care. He started the race, led the race and must complete the race. Translated properly, the NHI will not only address all the challenges we currently face within the Health System but also transform the Health system progressively and fundamentally.
  2. Over the 70 years of the NHS’s existence debates have and continue to take place on matters of governance, manpower (human resources), leadership and funding. These are real implementation issues, all meant to improve the functioning and better translation of the NHS concept in reality on the ground.
  3. With the release of the White paper for public comments this provides an opportunity to listen and discuss with each other to find the best way/s to translate the NHI within our context. We dare not fail on this ambitious challenge.

 

Issued by the Health Ombud, Prof MW Makgoba

For more information, please contact: Ricardo Mahlakanya: Director: Communications & Stakeholder Relations; Tel. 012 339 8631; Mobile. 079 769 7955; or Email. rmahlakanya@ohsc.org.za