South Africa’s New National Health Insurance (NHI) prompts the Emigration of Doctors

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With ANC’s success from the SA election in 2019, they have brought in new ideas that have faced a lot of criticism and opposition. The new bill (NHI) that was passed this week has prompted a lot of doctors to immigrate out of South Africa to places like Dubai and Australia.

It has been reported in the Sunday Times by Dr Chris Archer (CEO, South African Private Practitioners Forum) that ‘those who want to leave will see the NHI as the reason to do so’. With the limitation on several medical aid schemes, private healthcare doctors are bound to prepare to leave South Africa. Further, the fear of higher taxes does not only affect doctors but also many other professionals that will eventually want to migrate out.

This current bill has many flaws to it, especially with the strong opposition coming from the South Africans and politicians, despite being a ‘universal health coverage’. If this progresses and the doctors all migrate out, the whole point of the bill will be defeated. There would also be issues with managing the finance of the NHI, purchase, maintenance and distribution of the equipment and medicines.

Following research from the trade union group Solidarity, 83.2% of healthcare workers said that private health professionals might migrate if the NHI is put into practice and 43% of the respondents stated that they would consider emigrating.

With the existing opportunities of private healthcare careers and benefits of taxes overseas; there are no reasons as to why the healthcare professionals would not want to leave and invest in a citizenship abroad.

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