Annual integrated report 2011

Primary Care review

The Primary Care division offers comprehensive primary healthcare and managed care. It consists of 88 clinics, operating under the well-established brands of Medicross and Prime Cure, and 37 pharmacies that form part of Netcare retail pharmacies.


The Medicross family medical and dental centres and Prime Cure clinics are well-equipped with medical and dental infrastructure to enable more than 550 medical doctors and dentists to deliver quality professional services. These health centres and clinics offer a varied range of primary care services, including pathology and radiology services at most sites. Other services include acute and chronic medical services, a range of dental services, preventative services such as screening and surveillance, family planning and well baby services, as well as travel medicine and insurance medicals at certain sites.

The retail pharmacies are conveniently located in the Medicross centres and many operate over extended hours. The Netcare Travel Clinics are part of the spectrum of services managed by the division.

Medicross operates 12 day theatres, which offer a platform for quality, affordable same-day surgical procedures to medically insured and self-pay private patients. The value proposition includes a facilitated business environment for independent private medical and dental practitioners and managed care with risk transfer for low-cost medical schemes. The offering includes provider network management, which ensures access to affordable quality care across the levels of care from primary to tertiary services.

Medicross and Prime Cure offer services to medically insured and private self-pay clients across a wide economic bracket.

Strategy delivers stronger operating profits

The division delivered pleasing results for the year. More than 3.2 million primary care consultations were recorded at Medicross centres and Prime Cure clinics. Over 1.7 million pharmacy scripts were dispensed during the year at pharmacies located within Medicross centres.

In line with our strategy to reduce full risk lives under management, revenue decreased by 7.4% to R1 272 million (2010: 1 374 million). Operating profit improved to R38 million (2010: R6 million), underpinned by stringent cost control measures and operational efficiencies as well as effective managed care risk management.

Good growth was achieved in pharmacy following a Netcare-wide retail pharmacy strategy review. Recovery was most evident in the market share of acute prescriptions.

Focused working capital management resulted in the reduction in debtors’ days by eight days. The business-wide operating system rolled out in the prior period has been enhanced to optimise efficiency and stability, which continued to pose some challenges in the year under review.

During the year four pharmacies were refurbished as part of the division’s retail strategy. This is the first step in a phased refurbishment drive. In addition, 10 clinics were upgraded, bringing the total number of upgraded health centres to 14.

Job losses and jobless economic growth, especially in sectors such as mining where low-cost benefits have added to the value proposition offered by medical schemes, pose a threat to the growth of managed care offerings in the market.

Managing key relationships

Relationships with doctors and dentists as key stakeholders are being fostered through formal representative processes as well as the initiation of direct communication channels.

Patient care and safety remain at the forefront of service delivery and the quality improvement strategy is being reviewed to ensure effectiveness. In the year under review a total of 377 complaints were dealt with, which translates to a rate of one complaint per 10 000 visits. Of these complaints, 19% related to clinical matters at a rate of 0.2 clinical-related complaints per 10 000 visits. The division recorded 23 compliments on the customer complaints management system and will continue to monitor trends in the absence of appropriate industry benchmarks.

Investing in people and the community

The scarcity of professional skills, particularly pharmacists, remains a challenge and staffing models are being evaluated to determine the optimal skills mix, as well as innovative measures to increase the development of qualified staff.

Transformation efforts are managed at Group level.

72 Refer to the Transformation report for further details.

Various Medicross centres participate in local corporate social investment (CSI) and health education initiatives. Further information on CSI programmes is available in the Corporate social investment report on page 77.

Looking ahead

  • Explore growth opportunities in the expansion of the day theatre platform and re-package service offerings to extend affordable quality service for same-day surgical procedures to both insured and self-pay private clients.
  • Operational efficiency initiatives will maintain the momentum achieved to date.
  • Quality improvements will include customer satisfaction metrics, efficient scheduling of patient visits, reduced waiting times and customer centricity via “the Netcare Way”.
  • Internal and external communication channels will be revised to optimise communication with various target audiences.
74 Refer to Our People for more information.