The health department is looking for new ways to entice private-sector general practitioners (GPs) to provide their services under the National Health Insurance (NHI), after a lacklustre response to its attempts to get them to work in state facilities. Only 250 private-sector GPs were contracting with the state at the end of March, according to the Foundation for Professional Development MD Gustaaf Wolvaardt. This is a far cry from the state’s original target of 900 GPs, which it had hoped to reach by March 2015. Part of the problem appears to be the rate offered by the government, which ranged from R470 per hour in urban areas to R573 per hour in a rural setting. A GP in private practice can expect to earn between R1,200 and R1,600 an hour, according to Casper Venter, the MD of HealthMan health-care consultancy.

Another issue is the fact that the GP contracting model restricts doctors to working in state facilities, an issue the SA Medical Association flagged as a potential p...

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