There is a long way to go before the National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme can become a reality, Cosatu said on Saturday.
"There is a long way to go to turn these excellent plans into reality in the hospitals and clinics," Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said.
During a keynote address at the Emerging Market Healthcare gala dinner in Cape Town Vavi said all posts in the public health care sector needed to be filled, and new ones opened where necessary.
Targets have to be set for the employment and production of nurses and doctors and the physical infrastructure needs to be upgraded and extended.
State pharmaceutical company
Vavi said the pay structure, conditions of employment and career development needed to be addressed in order to address the problem of skills flight, as well as the re-opening and establishment of new nursing colleges.
There needed to be a state pharmaceutical company in order to ensure the availability of affordable essential medicines, he said.
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan earlier this month said about R500 million was expected to be set aside in the 2012 budget to fund pilot sites for the NHI.
(Sapa, November 2011)