LLM Research Puts NHI Legalities Under the Microscope

Medical doctor and Masters in Medical Law graduate Dr Manake Mokone is educating himself on the legalities of the proposed National Health Insurance (NHI) to better serve his patients.

‘I have been a general practitioner in Gauteng’s Sebokeng (zone 14) township for the past 30 years. My interaction with mainly African patients revealed that they are reluctant to articulate negative experiences whilst receiving healthcare. I believe that the unacceptable levels of medical malpractice claims emanate from failure to communicate with healthcare professionals. This qualification will allow me to enlighten my patients about the Constitutional obligations of the NHI and the provision of quality healthcare,’ says Mokone.

The study, titled: Soaring Medical Malpractice Litigation in South Africa and its implications for the implementation of the proposed National Health Insurance Scheme, compared the proposed NHI and the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS), which is considered as one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The study was supervised by Professor David McQuoid-Mason.

‘The study revealed that it is not a lack of funds that feeds into increasing medical malpractice claims, but rather the management of healthcare systems and poor quality service as well as inadequate communication between healthcare providers and patients. The NHS has revealed that there will never be adequate funds to provide a perfect healthcare service and the arguments that are advanced against the implementation of the proposed NHI scheme are largely based on insufficient funding,’ explained Mokone.

He added that both the private and public healthcare systems in our country are failing because of the emphasis on curative rather than preventive approaches.

‘The reluctance of healthcare providers, politicians and others in South Africa to adopt the proposed NHI scheme is similar to that experienced in the UK. The current cost of healthcare is out of control in our country and if it continues unabated, it will result in unnecessary loss of life,’ he said.

Words: Thandi Jumo
Photograph: Abhi Indrarajan

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