The Star reports that hundreds of medical practices are on the verge of collapse because of a fall in the number of visits due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This was reported last week by Coenie Smith, Nedbank national manager for Medical Professionals.
While the number of Covid-19 cases in SA continues to climb and those on the frontline work tirelessly to treat those affected, others such as general practitioners, specialists and dentists have seen demand for their services reduce significantly. This had led to a cash crunch, forcing some providers to scale back their practices and lay off health workers.
Recent SA Medical Association (Sama) statistics showed that private practices had, on average, seen a 60% decline in patient numbers during the hard lockdown. Although patient numbers have increased since then, they remain 40-50% lower than normal.
The SA Medical and Dental Practitioners’ Association, which has some 2 000 members mainly in historically under-served townships, has seen business halved on average during the pandemic. The Council for Medical Schemes earlier declined a proposal by private health sector practitioners that would have seen medical aid schemes tap into funds to help private healthcare practitioners stay afloat.