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South African health care practitioners’ experiences of the current health care delivery system in Uthungulu District

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dc.contributor.advisor Edwards, S.D.
dc.contributor.advisor Msomi-Mbele, P.B.
dc.contributor.author Stoyanov, Joan Ellen
dc.date.accessioned 2017-06-22T13:07:17Z
dc.date.available 2017-06-22T13:07:17Z
dc.date.issued 2017
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10530/1530
dc.description A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Arts in fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Community Psychology) in the Department of Psychology at the University Of Zululand, 2017 en_US
dc.description.abstract Health is a human need and considered to be a human right across all societies. Access to health care services is not a problem for those who can afford it, but, for those who cannot provide for themselves, legislation needs to protect their rights. Although there is legislation in place to protect these vulnerable populations, it is ultimately the health care practitioners’ job to protect and improve the health of their communities. It is these health care practitioners who were the inspiration for and focus of the present study. The present study emerged as a separate, but expanded version of the researcher’s limited 2011 study, which specifically focused on medical practitioners’ experiences of the current health care delivery system. Results from this 2011 study suggested that a broader spectrum of health care practitioners may be similarly affected by the current health care system and that their experiences may ultimately contribute towards a better understanding of the dynamics within which health care practitioners work and function. Therefore, the present phenomenologically-oriented study aimed to describe, explicate, interpret and analyse the experiences of a broad sample of health care practitioners through their lived, day-to-day realities in both the public and private health care sectors. Data were collected from a non-probability, purposive, convenience sample of 30 adult registered health care practitioners in public and private hospitals, clinics and private practices in the uThungulu District of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. There were 15 participants from the public and 15 from the private sector. An open-ended questionnaire was used to ascertain and understand their experiences, knowledge and exposure to the relatively new national health insurance (NHI) system, what they perceived as key objectives for effective transformation of the South African health care system, possible reasons for considering emigration in light of the current staff shortages and their views on the new NHI policy, in order to find solutions to problems. The overall data analysis consisted of three levels of subsidiary data analysis, descriptive, social constructionist and interpretive paradigms, each contributing to the whole, both “vertically and horizontally”, where participants’ experiences were described, explicated and interpreted. Research findings indicated persisting large divisions and fragmentation in and between the public and private health care sectors. Yet there was unity in responses concerning the poor and disadvantaged members of society and the challenges of their access to health care services. Sensitivity to human rights standards, past socio-political influences and awareness of health as a human right and need were evident in all participant responses. Valuable solutions to improve the health care delivery system were offered by health care practitioners as key stakeholders in the future of health care delivery in South Africa. Public health care practitioners’ experiences were dominated by overall expressions of unhappiness, anger and frustration related to poor service delivery, lack of resources, inadequate management structures, wages, inadequate consultation, fear for personal (and family) safety and the future of health care. Concern for the poor, vulnerable and the majority of citizens who use health care services, coupled with the burgeoning burden of disease, were perceived as a major stressor and source of anger towards the government and bureaucracy in general. Chronic stress and anxiety, suggestive of burnout and other negative psychological states, were also apparent. The inability to service long patient queues, inadequate communication structures/channels and lack of cohesive team practices, ethics and standards created a sense of emotional overburden and other negative affective states. These, and the uncertain future of health care under the new NHI, exerted extra stress on already overworked health care personnel. Education and effective consultation about the NHI were expressed as being inadequate and incomplete. Despite these factors, health care practitioners offered various valuable solutions and suggestions for the improvement of health care service delivery. Despite also being stressed, participants who work in the private sector were generally happier and they evinced less negative psychological states. Although a stressful environment with its own problems, within the private sector the NHI was considered to be a good concept in principle, although many participants doubted its feasibility and felt that regulatory changes often took place without adequate consultation. Given the nature and transparency of the present study, across multidisciplinary teams of health care practitioners, the researcher is of the opinion that the present study created a platform for discussion and debate around the context of a changing health care system within South Africa’s culturally diverse society. In conclusion, a critical review of the present study and recommendations for management structures, health care practitioners themselves and future research is provided. en_US
dc.publisher University of Zululand en_US
dc.subject health care practitioners --Uthungulu --South Africa --health care system en_US
dc.title South African health care practitioners’ experiences of the current health care delivery system in Uthungulu District en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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