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Rocky start for NHI tender programme

The first tenders for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHI) have been issued, but only three medical scheme administrators pitched for the compulsory information session. According to Rapport, experts are critical of the tender specifications for five priority programmes announced by Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi when he published the NHI Bill for public comment.

In one tender, the government wants a private company to contract oncology radiation services for more than 9,000 priority backlog patients at four state hospitals in KZN and Gauteng. In another, the successful company will take over the government’s school health initiative for which the government has identified children in need of medical services such as optometry and dentistry.

The report says the companies will have to identify suitable health professionals able to do the work, contract and monitor them.

Health economist Alex van den Heever says the aim of the NHI is to do the procurement, but the government is now contracting procurement entities to sub-contract services. “Why can’t the government simply implement and manage the programmes? Why do we then have to create a NHI?”

The report says the tender closing date has already been moved from 16 July to 24 August. The department denied that there is a duplication of services or costs in its approach or that it contradicts the intentions of the NHI Bill.

[link url=""]Rapport report (subscription needed)[/link]

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