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27 February 2014
Disappointing' Budget leaves little room for health boost

Disappointing' Budget leaves little room for health boost
FINANCE Minister Pravin Gordhan's 2014 Budget speech was "disappointing", according to Daygan Eager of the Rural Health Advocacy Project at the University of the Witwatersrand.  He said that Gordhan's commitment to lowering the budget deficit left little space for improvements in healthcare service delivery.

Eager said government continued to take the stance of cutting the budget deficit and consolidating expenditure, which did not mean it was cutting expenditure; it meant it was not significantly increasing spending particularly on non-infrastructure related social services. Eager said the Health Minister's vision for the NHI was not being matched by Treasury, which was "reluctant to come on board" because of the large initial expenditure - which would delay investment in the project and any other significant reforms in the public health sector. Eager said a positive point was that there was a commitment to improving how money was being spent, particularly in the Eastern Cape. He said there had been improvements in the payment of doctors in the province and the appointment of a new chief financial officer was largely responsible.
Amy Green & Ina Skosana: Mail & Guardian, 27 February 2014

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