Stats SA has published data on the average amount the government spends on the 45 million South Africans who make use of public healthcare in the country.
According to the stats body, only 17 in 100 South Africans have medical insurance, the essential key that opens the door to private healthcare. As many as 45 million, or 82 out of every 100 South Africans, fall outside the medical aid net, and as a result are largely dependent on public healthcare.
For every rand that the South African government spent in 2014/15, 11 cents went to healthcare, totalling R157 billion, Stats SA said, making healthcare the fourth largest item of government expenditure, superseded by education (19 cents), social protection (13 cents), and executive and legislative organs (13 cents).
The bulk (86%) of the spend on healthcare was spent by provincial government, which is tasked to manage the nation’s public healthcare system, comprising 422 hospitals and 3,841 clinics and health centres, it said.
Stats SA’s latest financial statistics of provincial government sets the healthcare bill for provincial government at R150 billion for 2015/16, which translates to R3,332 spent per person for the 45 million who do not have medical cover.
By province, the Northern Cape government comes out as the top healthcare spender, setting the bar at R4,082 per person in 2015/16. Western Cape takes second spot, followed by Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.
According to Stats SA, the main expenditure items were hospital services (62% of the R150 billion), public health – which includes services such as family planning and disease detection (33%) – and ambulance services (4%).
“Another way to look at expenditure is to classify it economically. This shows that the public healthcare system spent two-thirds of the R150 billion on paying its employees, and almost a third on purchasing goods and services,” it said.
“With slow economic growth, and recent news reports of possible budget cuts in public healthcare,5 it remains as important as ever to ensure the effective allocation of resources within the healthcare system to provide adequate services for those without medical insurance.”
Article by Staff Writer