NHI is an inevitability and the Department of Health will not backtrack on it.

This was the message from Dr Nicholas Crisp, the department’s deputy director general in charge of NHI. He was speaking at a conference earlier this week.

Crisp was quoted by News24 as saying: ‘We are not going to backtrack on creating one health system; it is not on our agenda. We want everybody in South Africa to get a good health system.’

Crisp said that after public consultation, which saw 100 000 comments submitted by the public, the Bill had now gone through the National Assembly. He said he hoped that the parliamentary process would be concluded by the end of the year.

The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has long argued that NHI is simply unaffordable, and instead of extending quality healthcare to those who do not have it, it will simply strip quality healthcare from those that do have it. The IRR has put forward a number of proposals, including the introduction of health vouchers, to ensure that more South Africans are covered by quality healthcare than is currently the case.