Department of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, East London, South Africa
Based on concerns raised by professional nurses working in a private hospital that hinge on financial implication of the NHI, the state of public health sector and implications of the NHI to the South African health system prompted the need to determine their perceptions on the introduction of the NHI in a private hospital in Gauteng province, South Africa.
A qualitative, exploratory and descriptive design using a semi-structured individual interview schedule was conducted. Coding and thematic analysis of data were done. The sample was purposive, consisting of 18 professional nurses from a private hospital in Gauteng, South Africa.
Findings indicated that they acknowledge the principles of the NHI such as a right to access healthcare, equity, affordability, efficiency, effectiveness and appropriateness. However, there were concerns on the Department of Health’s ability to ensure adequate human resources, sufficient equipment, safe infrastructure, meeting the national core standards which are still hampered by challenges experienced in public hospitals. Participants indicated that the government is not ready for the implementation of the NHI, based on the perceived non-transparency on outcomes from NHI pilot sites.
General views concerning funding challenges, based on perceived mismanagement of funds and irregular expenditure as well as poor communication with all stakeholders involved in the implementation of the NHI were raised. The NHI is not only about financing, it involves service delivery, management and governance of health care services. There is a gap in information available to healthcare workers concerning the implementation of the NHI in South Africa.
Keywords: National Health Insurance, Professional nurses, Perception, Private hospital, Gauteng, South African health system.
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