The perceptions of general practitioners on National Health Insurance in Chris Hani district, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Gaqavu, Mthetheleli Mbongeni ; Mash, Bob (2019)

CITATION: Gaqavu, M. M. & Mash, R. 2019. The perceptions of general practitioners on National Health Insurance in Chris Hani district, Eastern Cape, South Africa. South African Family Practice, 61(3):102-108, doi:10.1080/20786190.2019.1596665.

The original publication is available at https://safpj.co.za

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund

Article

Background: National Health Insurance (NHI) intends to provide universal health coverage to all South Africans, with equity and quality as its tenets. The participation of private general practitioners (GPs) in NHI is essential. The aim was to explore perceptions of GPs on NHI in Chris Hani district, Eastern Cape, South Africa. Methods: A descriptive phenomenological qualitative study using semi-structured individual interviews of 12 GPs from six municipalities was undertaken. Data analysis used the framework method assisted by Atlas.ti software. Results: GPs in Chris Hani district felt that NHI would improve health and benefit society and be of particular benefit to poor and rural people as it will improve access to healthcare. Lack of governmental administrative capacity and a human resource plan were seen as barriers to implementation. They believed that NHI would benefit them through a single purchaser system and support more comprehensive care. GPs were concerned about a lack of information on primary care packages, accreditation, remuneration and patient allocation. They thought that NHI might disadvantage solo GPs. NHI implementation could be improved by actively engaging with GP organisations. Improvement of existing government health facilities and continued medical education were seen as possible ways to better implement NHI. Conclusion: GPs in this study were generally positive about NHI and thought it would benefit both patients and providers. However, they had concerns regarding the capacity of government to implement NHI and the implications for solo GPs, and needed more information. Government needs to actively engage GPs.

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