Healthcare reform and service delivery : a case study of Montebello Hospital
The South African healthcare sector stands at the threshold of major restructuring in an attempt to address inadequacies as a result of fragmentation of health services in apartheid South Africa. The level of health services, particularly in rural areas, has decreased and has led to reduced quality and productivity of health services. For individuals residing in rural communities, access to health services can be arduous. Delivery of essential services has to meet the needs of marginalised people who live in remote areas. In light of the above, the department of health is faced with growing expectations from citizens to use resources efficiently and effectively and to ensure that healthcare is affordable and accessible to all. National Health Insurance (NHI) is intended to bring about reform that will improve service provision. The researcher undertook this study to explore healthcare challenges faced by South Africa and its people and how far progressive realisation of access to healthcare, as enshrined in the 1996 Constitution, is being implemented. A case study using a mixed method approach was adopted. The literature reviewed indicated that issues of remuneration, ageing infrastructure and general management challenges, including financial management, are among the challenges that continue to hamper the public health system in South Africa. In addition, the HIV/AIDS epidemic has created more demand for healthcare as many more people become sick. The Green Paper outlining the government’s broad policy proposals for NHI, released in August 2011, makes it clear that NHI is a long-term project that will be rolled out over 14 years. It aims to promote efficiency and equity to ensure that all South Africans have access to affordable, quality healthcare. The findings of this study are useful not only to the case study institution, but to all District Hospitals, especially the department of health and the public management sector and may assist in taking the NHI forward.