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National Health Act, 2003 (Act No. 61 of 2003)


National Health Insurance Policy towards Universal Health Coverage

Chapter 7 : Financing of NHI

7.10 Containing costs and improving management

7.10.2 Demand-side measures


265. Public health policy requires a coordinated strategy towards health promotion, prevention, and patient safety to limit the overall burden on hospitals and clinics. To this end, the focus in South African health policy on primary healthcare is a critical and necessary element in reducing the disease burden as far as possible. A healthy, active lifestyle and responsible behaviour should be encouraged. Entry into the health system at the lowest and most appropriate level should be incentivized through reliable local services. Evidence suggests that General Practitioner gate keeping can lead to the effective curtailment of therapies that are not clinically-or cost-effective. Appropriate information can also promote responsible use of services. A potential application for user charges is as a ‘bypass fee’ where individuals are required to pay some or all of the cost if referral gatekeepers are bypassed.