Patient perceptions of the quality of public healthcare in South Africa
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The South African democratic government is mandated by the constitution to provide quality healthcare services to the citizens of the country. Therefore, healthcare in South Africa is considered as a basic human right. The existing healthcare system exhibits extreme inequality, which translates into inequity in health outcomes across different demographic factors. Even though quality healthcare is a basic human right, problems related to the quality of healthcare remain, which poses a major challenge for the South African government. This dissertation investigates patient perceptions of the quality of public healthcare in South Africa, using General Household Survey data (2009-2016), with the objective of determining the level and trends of patient satisfaction and complaints reported when accessing public healthcare services in South Africa and identifying the correlates of these perception. This study found that patient satisfaction with public healthcare services in South Africa has increased over time while complaints have decreased over time. This study refrains from drawing conclusion on these findings at face value, since they may be other factors that explain the observed trends. The most common complaint was long waiting time at public healthcare facilities. On average, White individuals, male household heads, individuals residing in rural areas and individuals from smaller household were more likely to report to being satisfied with healthcare services received at public healthcare facilities in South Africa. Therefore, patient satisfaction survey approach should be used in conjunction with other healthcare quality measures such as direct observation, vignettes and standardised or mystery patient.