The Gauteng Department of Health will focus on implementing the National Health Insurance (NHI) among other priorities in the next five years.

It will invest over R1 billion towards the new health financing system.

The NHI is aimed at providing universal health coverage to South Africans, regardless of their financial status.

The Gauteng Health MEC, Dr Bandile Masuku, announced this in the provincial legislature during the department’s R50.8 billion budget vote:

“Our priorities for the Sixth Administration are centred on implementing the NHI, improving patient experience, improving clinical services, promoting public health education and improving governance and leadership. In line with our plans to get our facilities ready for NHI and making sure that they are OHS compliant, the current financial year will see us invest in excess of R1 billion for maintenance and refurbishment.

The department has also set aside R600 million to improve safety and security in its health facilities. It says it will not tolerate crime that endangers the lives of patients and staff.

“The safety and security of our patients and staff is important for the system to function optimally and achieve better healthcare outcomes. We have begun to stand up for our patients and staff against criminal elements and we need the support of the community to win this battle. Coordination between Gauteng Health and South African Police Service (SAPS) is already underway. In the current financial year, R600 million is set aside to secure the safety of our patients and staff,” says Masuku.