2005 Health Legislation: Department briefing

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Health

07 March 2005
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Meeting report

HEALTH PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE

HEALTH PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
8 March 2005
2005 HEALTH LEGISLATION: DEPARTMENT BRIEFING

Chairperson: Mr L Ngculu (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Parliament Legal Services status report on pending health legislation

SUMMARY
The Committee received a briefing on pending 2005 Department legislation in order to assist in the planning of their Committee Programme. Various questions were asked of the Parliamentary Legal Services, including about the role of community services, the enrolment of nurses, and progress on the National Health Act.

MINUTES
The Chairperson said that Members would benefit from a Department update on upcoming legislation, particularly during the budget hearings and Department Strategy Plan considerations. The Committee Programme would be arranged around this legislation process.

Department briefing
Mr Motsapi (Director of Legal Services) said Members would have to bear in mind four factors when considering the legislation. Transformation towards more demographic representivity within Councils and professional categories remained a crucial concern. The role of all relevant Councils had to be more clearly defined and issues of governance and accountability were also important. The larger councils would be streamlined to save on costs and promote efficiency. The representation of black members within various professional councils would be a priority. All amendments had to processed as they impacted on the National Health Act which could not be implemented until all amendments were completed.

Discussion
Mr S Njikelana (ANC) asked for clarity on the status of community service staff within the Health Boards. Further detail was sought on the status of the Allied Health Professionals Amendment Bill.

Ms B Ngcobo (ANC) asked whether all categories of nurses would be registered in the Nursing Bill, and if enrolment and registration applied equally.

Mr Motsapi responded that many health professionals were engaged in community service and others had indicated an interest in participating. Community service had received widespread support. Services within other Boards would be introduced in a carefully managed way. Enrolment would be gradually phased out for the Allied Health Professions Council.

Mr S Ramasala (Director of Legal Services) responded that the Allied Health Professions Council administered the National Health Act in its present format. This Council should be separated from the Health Professions Council.

Mr Njikelana stated that the National Health Act was an important piece of legislation and asked for a progress report on amendments.

Mr S Ramasala replied that amendments were currently being formulated and a draft would be published soon for public comment. Consultations with stakeholders were also underway.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee would be monitoring the implementation of the National Health Act. The Department was asked to consider the working programme of Parliament when placing Bills before the Committee as October and November was usually very busy.

The meeting was adjourned.

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