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Hospital catch-22: We can't buy the machines unless we can employ radiographers!

5 May 2021 8:23 PM
Tags:
The Money Show
Bruce Whitfield
MRI
Health Professions Council
Health Professions Council of South Africa
Life Healthcare
Hospitals
HPCSA
radiography
radiographers
Peter Wharton-Hood
x-ray
preventative medicine

Hospital groups aren't allowed to employ radiographers. Life Healthcare is fighting to have this changed, for important reasons.

Why are hospital groups not allowed to hire their own radiographers?

Medical practitioners can be hired only with the permission of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), explains ‎Peter Wharton-Hood (Group Chief Executive of ‎Life Healthcare).

Life Healthcare made a formal application two years ago for permission to employ radiographers in South Africa, as it does in the UK.

The application is set to be heard this week.

Image: Michal Jarmoluk on Pixabay

‎Wharton-Hood discusses the radiography catch-22 and its implications on The Money Show.

It is a rule in South Africa that health practitioners either work for themselves or, with the dispensation of the HPCSA, are allowed to be employed by groups such as ourselves.

Peter Wharton-Hood, Group Chief Executive - ‎Life Healthcare

Radiographers have to work through a radiologist in this country, he says.

The radiographer is the person who takes the x-ray picture, while the radiologist is the specialist practitioner who diagnoses the problem by looking at the image.

We had been generously treated in the past and ten years ago the HPCSA had the foresight to allow us to employ doctors when we wanted to create an acute rehabilitation unit. We made an application, they allowed us to employ the doctors and subsequent to that we have treated 25,000 patients...

Peter Wharton-Hood, Group Chief Executive - ‎Life Healthcare

Now is the time to make another application...

Peter Wharton-Hood, Group Chief Executive - ‎Life Healthcare

Coming back from the UK I asked why we couldn't build a model similar to what we're doing with Alliance Medical, our wholly-owned subsidiary there. We employ radiographers; we buy the sophisticated technology like MRI machines... and we deliver a service taking images of patients.

Peter Wharton-Hood, Group Chief Executive - ‎Life Healthcare

In South Africa, we realised we couldn't buy the machinery unless we were able to employ the radiographers because you need a radiographer who is qualified to operate the machinery!

Peter Wharton-Hood, Group Chief Executive - ‎Life Healthcare

Increased access to preventative diagnostic screening leads to better cure rates, he emphasizes.

There are not enough radiological services in South Africa and we think that by making radiology more accessible and more affordable, you'll end up with more patients actually getting screened and scanned either preventatively or diagnostically, across our country.

Peter Wharton-Hood, Group Chief Executive - ‎Life Healthcare

Life Healthcare, with a sizeable balance sheet, is prepared to invest in this infrastructure like we did in the UK and make these services which are cutting-edge technology at the forefront of medicine, more available to patients.

Peter Wharton-Hood, Group Chief Executive - ‎Life Healthcare

It's a safer form of medicine and also gets you to a point where patients are able to have minimally invasive procedures performed on them.

Peter Wharton-Hood, Group Chief Executive - ‎Life Healthcare

Listen to the interview below:




5 May 2021 8:23 PM
Tags:
The Money Show
Bruce Whitfield
MRI
Health Professions Council
Health Professions Council of South Africa
Life Healthcare
Hospitals
HPCSA
radiography
radiographers
Peter Wharton-Hood
x-ray
preventative medicine

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