Private healthcare in good shape

November 25, 2008

Private healthcare in good shape

November 24, 2008

Johannesburg – Netcare is confident that the demand for private healthcare will be sustained locally, the private hospitals operator in South Africa and the United Kingdom said on Monday.

“This is underpinned by a financially sound and growing medical scheme market.

“We are hopeful that real opportunities to partner and assist government in the improvement of access to healthcare may also be forthcoming,” Netcare said in releasing its results for the year ended September 30 2008.

However, the recessionary environment in the UK was expected to impact out-of-pocket spend on private healthcare in the short term, the group said.

For the year ended 30 September 2008, group revenue increased by 16.8 percent to R21.7 billion with the South African business contributing 48 percent and the UK business contributing 52 percent, Netcare said.

“Performance was driven by organic and acquisitive growth in both countries and the impact of the increased average rand versus pound exchange rate during the year.”

Group operating profit increased by 12.7 percent to R3.3 billion while the group operating profit margin declined from 16.1 percent to 15.5 percent as a result of sub-optimal tariff levels in South Africa, underwriting costs in primary care and non-recurring costs in both South Africa and the UK amounting to R132 million.

Netcare said it welcomed the appointment of Barbara Hogan as Minister of Health.

“Her constructive and open approach to healthcare issues heralds an opportunity for the health sector, both public and private, to collectively confront the challenges to national health, specifically those posed by the HIV and Aids and [tuberculosis] epidemics and the problems in healthcare delivery.”

The company said it stood ready to assist the government and the department of health in initiatives to broaden access to quality healthcare and ensure better clinical outcomes. – Sapa

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