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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Gauteng must charge embassies for foreign patients treated at public hospitals – DA

This follows a video of pregnant women sleeping on the floor at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.


The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng has called for foreign embassies to be billed for patients from their countries who are treated in Gauteng hospitals.

This follows a video that has gone viral online of pregnant women sleeping on the floor at the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in Johannesburg.

The video was shot by the Patriotic Alliance MMC for health in Joburg, Ashley Sauls.

It shows heavily pregnant women sleeping on the floors or sitting slouched on plastic chairs, waiting for assistance.

WATCH: Heavily pregnant women sleep on Rahima Moosa hospital floor

Heavily pregnant women at the hospital sometimes allegedly wait up to three days before receiving medical attention.

The DA said billing foreign embassies for patients from their countries was a practical way to deal with the issue of foreign patients overburdening Gauteng’s hospitals.

“Some years ago the Gauteng Health Department claimed that they were going to bill foreign embassies but nothing seems to have come from this.

“The legal position is that pregnant women who are in labour cannot be refused access to care as it is an emergency condition,” said DA Gauteng MPL and spokesperson for health, Jack Bloom, in a statement.

Foreign births

Bloom said while most foreign patients lived in South Africa, there were many cases where pregnant women from surrounding countries came to a South African hospital specifically to give birth.

“The proportion of foreign births at some Gauteng hospitals is more than 25% of total births, so it is a significant burden on our public health system,” he said.

Bloom said he will be asking questions in the Gauteng legislature as to whether embassies were being billed for foreign patients and if not, why not.

Foreigners blamed for over-capacity

Back in 2018, former Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said foreign nationals are burdening the South African health system.

South Africa faces a dire shortage of health workers against an increasing number of patients in the country’s hospitals.

Last month, medical workers downed tools in protest against the Gauteng Department of Health’s (GDoH) decision not to renew temporary nursing posts.

The Young Nurses Indaba Trade Union (YNITU) had said that apart from the 8,000 temporary nurses’ posts terminated, thousands of healthcare workers including nurses and support staff had been on contract for years, without those positions evolving into permanent posts.

Compiled by Thapelo Lekabe. Additional reporting by Narissa Subramoney.

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