South Africa

South Africans choosing alternative treatments over major surgeries

Fewer South Africans are undergoing major surgery as more people seek alternatives such as day clinics or physical therapy, according to the country’s largest private healthcare network.

Access to electronic medical records and improved health literacy are likely the main factors contributing to the downward trend in surgical procedures, Richard Friedland, CEO of Netcare, said in an interview Monday. 

“We don’t want to keep people in hospital for inefficient reasons – we don’t want people to have operations that aren’t necessary,” Friedland said.

There’s a different way of doing it, where patients are empowered, and they are equal partners in their health care, he said.

While this may initially mean that there are more open beds in hospitals, patients who are able to manage their health needs online sense that they’re getting far better value for money and are five to six times more likely to stay with that network, he said. 

Netcare earlier Monday reported a 6.7% rise in paid patient days in the year through September and said it expects that measure to climb by between 2.5% and 3.5% in the 2024 financial year. 

The stock advanced 0.8% as of 10:23 a.m. in Johannesburg, adding to Monday’s 6% post-earnings rally. 


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