Assessing the readiness to implement national health insurance at a clinic in Soweto
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The South African government intends to overhaul the entire public health system by introducing the National Health Insurance (NHI) system. The implementation of the NHI has created concerns amongst the majority of South African citizens who have a poor image of the quality of services provided by the public sector. One of the major questions that this study attempted to address was whether one of the largest clinics in Soweto could deliver quality healthcare in terms of the proposed NHI system. The study conducted is quantitative in nature and two-pronged. The first part of the study involved a survey conducted amongst staff members at the Soweto clinic to determine their awareness of the National HeaIth Insurance (NHI) and their knowledge of the National Core Standards (NCS). The second part of the study used an assessment questionnaire to determine compliance of the Soweto clinic to the six ministerial priority areas. The results of the survey conducted among the Soweto clinic’s staff members in all staff categories, showed that there is general awareness amongst staff members of National HeaIth Insurance and they have some knowledge of the NCS; however, more education on NHI and NCS is needed for staff working in specialised or isolated departments who are unaware of NHI and have no knowledge of the NCS. The Soweto clinic showed some advancement with regard to the vital measures compliance scores compared to those of the rest of the Gauteng province in the three priority areas. The Soweto clinic has, however, failed to comply under the other four ministerial priority areas, with ratings of less than 80%. This study has shown a disconnect between knowledge of the NCS and the NCS’s implementation by staff members, as staff members have failed to implement or comply with four of the ministerial priority areas, with sub-standard ratings of less than 80%. The Non-NHI clinic is still very far from ensuring the provision of basic quality health service for its clients and it is, thus, not ready to implement NHI. Recommendations from the study: - Managers must drive the quality improvement agenda for their facilities. - Awareness campaigns and more knowledge on NHI and quality improvement (NCS) must be communicated to all staff categories in the health establishments to ensure a deeper understanding of these concepts. - Workshops must be conducted for all staff members in the Soweto clinic, to support the creation of a culture of excellence, with emphasis in providing quality care to clients. Similar future studies need to be conducted on a large scale such as in the whole of Gauteng to determine staff at health establishments’ knowledge of the quality NCS.
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