Durban- South Africa is facing a huge shortage of hospital beds. There are only about 65,495 public and 28,000 private beds with nearly 75% of the private hospital beds occupied throughout the week.
According to the recent communiqué from South Africa's Private Hospital Group, this acute hospital bed crisis may not see the light of the day till the government provides more clarity on the impending healthcare legislation in South Africa.
According to the Hospital Association of South Africa, the problem has surmounted due to preference of private hospitals over public in the last ten years. This, along with the freeze on the growth of new private hospitals has led to the acute paucity of hospital beds.
Richard Friedland, the chief executive of South Africa's biggest private hospital group has advised caution in the area of healthcare investments till the government provides a clear picture of its plan for the healthcare sector. He said, "We have to be cautious and because we have not been informed about the details of the regulation, it is difficult to evaluate investment."
Explaining the unpredictability of the situation and how it might pan out for the healthcare sector, Godwill Chahwahwa, an investment analyst at Coronation Fund Managers, said "If regulation brings in an inappropriate tariff system, this may have the unintended consequences of making it uneconomical and therefore undesirable for capital to be invested in this sector."
Therefore till such time the government directive for healthcare is rolled out, the situation in South Africa's hospitals may not witness any improvement, and patients may continue to be at the receiving end of healthcare facilities.