By Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Health:
The Public Private Health Forum met this morning to discuss, in particular, the financial relationship between the private and public sectors and the legal regulations that govern it.
Often, the private sector is discouraged from doing business with the state or forming public/private partnerships due to the arduous administrative processes. This is why it is crucial to host forums of this kind in order to simplify the process and come up with innovative ways of delivering services to our clients.
The forum focused on improving the way in which the private sector does business with the public healthcare sector, and how private expertise can add value to our services.
Minister Mbombo shared some insights on how the Western Cape Government is creating a conducive environment for public/private partnerships
“The Department’s budget allocation for goods and services is R6 billion for the 2015/16 financial year and this is projected to shrink in real terms when this is compared against an escalating burden of disease and resulting service pressures. This is why we have to work closely with the providers to ensure that we are employing creative ways of delivering health services in the province” said Mbombo
With growing demands on the public healthcare budget, the partners were advised to take affordability into account. Many proposals had previously fallen outside the scope of the budget which makes it impossible for the department to form these crucial partnerships.
In a bid to encourage partnerships, several briefings on the state’s procurement system and WCGH delivery priorities formed part of today’s Forum discussion.
“It is important that the proposals we receive are in direct response to the challenges we face in the health sector. This financial year alone, 39% of the provincial healthcare budget is spent on District health services, and by 2018 the proportion will rise to 41%. This is in line with our commitment to bringing services closer to the people through primary healthcare investment, our partners must always be abreast with our priorities” Mbombo added.
The partners interested in doing business with WCGH were advised to use the Healthcare 2030 strategic plan as a guide. They were also assured that the Western Cape Government is open for business but this relationship must always be guided by specific legislative prescripts.
“There are many opportunities to do business with government. We are reengineering the way in which services are provided. Tenders will be advertised over the next few months; many of which will appear on the government tender bulletin issued every Friday,” concluded the Head of Health, Dr Beth Engelbrecht.
Improving the patient experience is an important part of Healthcare 2030. The WCGH calls on the private sector to come up with innovative solutions for the public healthcare challenges our society is facing. Active Public Private Partnerships are vital for achieving high quality healthcare services and the only way we can meet the growing demands of our clients.