Deregulation in the South African Optometry industry

Joubert, Marita (2009-12)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))-- University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African health care industry is fragmented between the private and public sector. The disparity of resources between the private and public sectors as well as the escalating cost of health care services is threatening the sustainability of the private health sector and interferes with the national health policy objectives. Optometry shares the same concerns as the wider South African health industry with regards to accessibility, affordability, quality and equity of services. Deregulation of optometry has been suggested to address these concerns to the benefit of the consumer. But it seems to contradict the proposed higher regulatory environment of the greater private health sector. The objective of the research is to assess whether deregulation is the best way forward for the optometry industry. It also intends to get a more diverse perspective from service providers on the possible effects that deregulation might have on the industry. The study is conducted in three phases. The first two phases involves secondary data and includes an industry analysis and an assessment of the current regulatory framework of the optometry industry. The international deregulation trends in optometry are investigated as well as the deregulation trends of similar industries in South Africa. The third phase of the research includes an online questionnaire and approximately 2000 service providers were invited to participate. The 229 responses was analysed to assess the overall perception of deregulation. The skewed distribution of optometrists between the private and public sectors illustrates the need for more accessible and affordable eye care. Service providers are reluctant to get involved in community service and are not optimistic about the positive effect of deregulation. Professionalism and profitability are feared to be negatively influenced while trends in deregulation suggest that it is beneficial to consumers at least in the short term. Alternative options to deregulation should be investigated. But until the optometry industry increases their contribution to address industry issues, deregulation is the best alternative to improve accessibility, affordability, quality and equity of eye care services. AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse gesondheidsorg industrie is gefragmenteer tussen die private en publieke sektor. Die verskil in verspreiding van hulpbronne tussen die private en publieke sektore sowel as die stygende koste van gesondheidsorgdienste dreig die volhoubaarheid van die private sektor en belemmer die doelwitte van die nasionale gesondheidsbeleid. Oogkunde deel dieselfde bekommernisse as die groter Suid-Afrikaanse gesondheidsorg industrie in terme van toeganglikheid, bekostigbaarheid, kwaliteit en gelykheid van dienste. Deregulasie van oogkunde is voorgestel om die kwessies aan te spreek tot voordeel van die verbruiker. Maar dit lyk teenstrydig te wees met die voorgestelde strenger regulasie van die groter private gesondheid sektor. Die doel van die navorsing is om te bepaal of deregulasie die beste weg vorentoe is vir die oogkunde industrie. Dit beoog ook om ‘n meer diverse perspektief van diensverskaffers te verkry rakende die moontlike effek wat deregulasie op die industrie mag hê. Die studie word gedoen in drie fases. Die eerste twee fases behels sekondêre data en sluit ‘n industrie analise en ‘n assessering van die huidige regulatoriese raamwerk van die industrie in. Die internasionale deregulasie neigings in oogkunde word ondersoek sowel as die deregulasie neiging van soortgelyke industrieë in Suid-Afrika. Die derde fase van die navorsing behels ‘n aanlyn vraelys en ongeveer 2000 diensverskaffers is uitgenooi om deel te neem. Die 229 responsies is geanaliseer om die oorsigtelike persepsie van deregulasie te bepaal. Die skewe verspreiding van oogkundiges tussen die private en publieke sektore illustreer die nodigheid van meer toegangklike en bekostigbare oogsorg. Diensverskaffers is huiwerig om betrokke te raak by gemeenskapsdiens en is nie optimisties oor die positiewe effek van deregulasie nie. Daar word gevrees dat professionalisme en winsgewendheid negatief beïnvloed sal word, terwyl neigings in deregulasie wys dat dit tot voordeel van die verbruikers is, ten minste in die korttermyn. Alternatiewe opsies tot deregulasie moet ondersoek word. Maar totdat die oogkunde industrie hulle bydrae verhoog om die kwessies van die industrie aan te spreek, is deregulasie die beste alternatief om toeganglikheid, bekostigbaarheid, kwaliteit en gelykheid van oogsorgdienste te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/924
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