The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on multiple industries, including the private healthcare sector. Private hospitals are beginning to buckle under the economic pressure of a fiercer third wave that shows no signs of slowing down.
The implementation of South Africa’s hard lockdown at the end of March 2020 saw hospitals and clinics attempt to conserve precious resources that would go to the wave of Covid-19 patients, which included beds and healthcare workers.
As a result, elective surgeries and non-emergency procedures were ultimately tossed out of the window at various points throughout the pandemic, reports Business Insider. Unfortunately, the long-term effect of this has been a dip in revenue for privatised institutions such as Mediclinic, which recorded a 15.3% decrease in revenue per paid patient day (PPD) in 2020.
While private healthcare providers such as Netcare and Mediclinic appear to be losing out on these suspensions, medical aid schemes have come out on top. Business Insider reports that the suspension of these services has increased their reserves by a whopping R93 billion. While medical aid schemes continue to come out on top, private hospitals are currently being hit with an additional whammy – a massive backlog that will need to be handled once the third wave has passed.
“We are anticipating that hospital admissions related to elective procedures will pick up again once the third wave starts to abate, however, there is likely to be a significant backlog that could result in potentially lengthy waiting lists for elective procedures,” stated Dr Jacques Snyman, advisor to the Health Squared Medical Scheme.