The SA Medical Association (Sama), which represents 17 000 doctors, has warned that the government’s National Health Insurance scheme will expose public healthcare to ‘large-scale corruption’.

Sama said in a statement: ‘Our public sector doctors are particularly scathing in their comments relating to cadre deployment at management levels, insufficiently qualified or even dedicated management and lack of accountability throughout the systems where they work.

‘They do not attribute the problems experienced to lack of money, but to governance, management and accountability failures, mixed with purely corrupt practices and patronage.’

The organisation said a survey of its members showed little confidence in NHI among public and private sector doctors, with 38% of respondents saying they would consider leaving the country if NHI was implemented.

Only 39% of doctors in the survey said they would stay.

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