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Sunday, February 1, 2009
More beds

National Hospital Network CEO Otto Wypkema has announced that five independent hospitals or clinics have applied for membership of the National Hospital Network. This brings the membership of the network to 79.

The new hospitals ARE: the Corona Sub Acute Hospital, the Emalahleni Day Clinic, the Centurion Clinic for Cosmetic Surgery and Dental Surgery, the Bethlehem Medical Centre Day Theatre, the Monte Vista Clinic and the Ethekwini Hospital. The total bed capacity of these hospitals is 250.
In addition, Swarago Investments, chaired by Dr Mathews Phosa, is a prospective member of the group. Swarago Investments plans to build a suite of hospitals in rural areas, including Lebowakgomo, Phuthaditjhaba, Ficksburg, Parys and Lydenburg.
“We are of course delighted to welcome new members to our network, and that the Swarago Investments Group has identified this opportunity to invest in the private health sector,” says Wypkema. “All the Swarago hospitals will be situated in rural areas which indicates that there is a demand for private healthcare in rural areas.”
The National Hospital Network is a group of independent private hospitals, day clinics and psychiatric clinics and ophthalmic clinics and is the fourth largest private hospital group. It has a growing national network with representation in South Africa’s major cities and represents almost 20% of the private sector beds.
NHN has a special exemption from the Competitions Commission which allows the group to negotiate on behalf of its members and medical schemes on tariffs and other areas of mutual interest.
“We believe our exemption enables us to provide offer greater competition in the hospital sector, which is dominated by the three groups,” he comments.
According to the latest World Health Statistics Report 2008, South Africa has 28 hospital beds per 10 000 population, which is below the global average of 30.
“In particular, rural areas are underserved with respect to private hospital facilities and public sector rural hospitals are severely strained, so there is a double win with the construction of these hospitals. Private patients will have facilities within easy reach and some of the pressure will be removed from public facilities,” he says.
“We would agree with the findings of the recently released Development Bank of Southern Africa view that future ANC health policy should focus on capacity in the public sector,” he adds. 

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:22.2 1st February, 2009
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