The NHI Bill is still the subject of fierce debate, especially regarding whether it will be captured by private and political hidden agendas. Be that as it may, there is no denying that there is a need for a robust approach to addressing the state of healthcare in South Africa; and, as it stands, universal healthcare appears to be a viable solution. According to health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, the NHI fund will “purchase all core healthcare services on behalf of all South African citizens and certain categories of foreign nationals. By 2026, medical aid schemes will only be limited to cover complementary services not provided by the NHI Fund” (Daily Maverick, 2019). For the NHI to be successful and effective, support will be required from the private sector. RH Bophelo is well-positioned to ensure that South Africa has the infrastructure necessary to ensure that quality healthcare services are accessible to all.
RH Bophelo has been established to solve the inefficiencies in the healthcare system. Many people are unhappy about the state of private and public healthcare in South Africa and the system has many cracks in it. Institutions, businesses and people within healthcare are dissatisfied with the status quo. We have identified many inefficiencies that need to be addressed. One of the overriding problems in healthcare is that efficiency has not been embedded in the model. Currently, the way that it works in the private sector is that hospital groups want to charge medical aid schemes as much as they can, and medical aids will try to pay out as little as they can while charging consumers as much as they can, to try to keep the balance in reserves.
Healthcare in South Africa is costly, and public hospitals are overcrowded, with little capacity and resources to meet the needs of the majority of South Africans who rely on the public system for healthcare. According to Statistics South Africa, “As many as 45 million, 82 out of every 100 South Africans, fall outside the medical aid net and as a result are largely dependent on public healthcare.” The NHI has the potential to ease the load of public hospitals and ensure that quality medical services are not limited to those who can afford medical aid.
Healthcare inflation in South Africa is growing at a higher and faster rate than normal inflation. As healthcare insurance fees continue to increase, we are seeing more barriers of entry that prevent people from accessing the healthcare that they need. The healthcare system needs disruption. RH Bophelo sees itself as a disruptor in the healthcare space because we are working towards investing in efficient infrastructure. Our goal is to build infrastructure that won’t require consumers to pay exorbitant prices to make use of hospital services and equipment. And this is an example of how, as a private hospital group, we aim to support the government in its mission to improve healthcare in South Africa. The NHI has the potential to expedite the transformation process of healthcare in South Africa. But this will be effectively achieved with the establishment of quality, low-cost infrastructure. If the government wants to move to universal healthcare, which is the NHI proposition, then we should support them and find innovative ways of making it happen. It is our view that the NHI is going to need infrastructure, and we can provide efficient infrastructure. Moreover, RHB will also benefit from the NHI because, once it is roll-out, the Fund will increase the pull of customers for us as more people will be able to access the quality healthcare that our hospitals have been designed to offer.
RH Bophelo is working towards having the largest footprint in South Africa’s healthcare industry. In order for this to happen, we need 100 hospitals; we currently have 29, we directly own nine hospitals, we manage five hospitals, and we’ve co-funded the development of 15 hospitals. We have put in place what we call a rapid hospital roll-out, which entails putting out low-cost infrastructure as quickly as possible. We want to be as close as your nearest supermarket, so, convenience is a factor, but we’re offering it at an affordable rate.
When you buy RH Bophelo shares, you are investing in an innovative and dynamic healthcare company that believes that we can work with the government to improve the state of healthcare in the country. We recently expanded our investor base and issued R1.5 billion in securities. We believe that we are the NHI proxy. If you believe in the NHI and that healthcare needs to change, invest in RH Bophelo.