Doctors Call for Additional Booze Tax to Lower Hospital Admissions

Doctors Call for Additional Booze Tax to Lower Hospital Admissions

- South African doctors have called for regulations to be implemented after President Ramaphosa lifted the country's third alcohol ban

- Medical experts have suggested the introduction of an 'alcohol tax' in order to limit admissions to trauma units and prevent overloading hospitals

- The Sunday Times spoke to healthcare professionals who proposed removing the cheapest alcohol options from the market and hiking the price of alcohol sales

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Healthcare and medical professionals of South Africa have called for regulations to be added following the lifting of the country's third alcohol ban, including a higher alcohol tax.

As South Africa's hospitals continue to be put under pressure due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the new strains of the virus, the alcohol ban's lift adds to the overload the institutions are dealing with.

The Sunday Times spoke to a number of doctors and members of the medical faculty and they expressed suggestions on how to limit the number of hospitalisations that the country sees solely because of alcohol consumption and abuse.

Breaking: Government Considering Lifting Ban on the Sale of Booze
Doctors Call for Additional Booze Tax to Lower Hospital Admissions

Doctors have called for an additional tax on alcohol in order to limit the strain on the nation's hospitals.
Source: Getty Images

The Sunday Times reported on trauma director at Netcare’s Milpark Hospital and emeritus professor of surgery at Wits University in Johannesburg, Dr Ken Boffard, presenting the points of the healthcare professionals and the case for their argument to the media.

The case included pointing out that there is a clear link between alcohol's availability and the number of admissions to trauma units at hospitals.

In addition to the ban, Dr Boffard acknowledged the role that curfew played in limiting the strain on hospital resources by helping curb alcohol-related incidents as well as Covid-19 cases.

The suggestion was that if a higher tax were to be placed on alcoholic products then any additional revenue generated by should go towards healthcare maintenance.

The potential solution comes as an option to help combat the pandemic's effects on the South African healthcare industry and as an alternative to a permanent alcohol ban, which many agree would be ineffective and unsustainable.

Exclusive: Impact of a delayed Covid19 vaccine drive on SA's rights reported on the president's most recent address in which he lifted the alcohol ban as well as explained the planned rollout of the vaccine in South Africa.

South Africans can finally give a sigh of relief after the president relaxed Covid-19 lockdown regulations as a result of the declining infection rate.

The president addressed the nation on Monday, 1 February. President Cyril Ramaphosa started his speech by confirming the arrival of the first one million doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, calling it a turning point in the fight against the virus.

He acknowledged that the speed at which the Covid-19 vaccines have been developed has never been seen before, showing the monumental effort humanity has taken to fight a common enemy.

Ramaphosa said that the vaccines will be tested to make sure that the vital medicine had not been compromised on the trip from India.

Covid19 vaccines: Government says illegal immigrants won't be excluded

The vaccine will be rolled out following the government's plans, focusing on primary healthcare workers through 200 locations across the country. Following this phase, the next group would receive the vaccine which includes people over the age of 65 and those who are vulnerable. The final phase will roll out the vaccine to the rest of the country.

Ramaphosa explained that the Department of Health has a database of those who qualify for the first phase and will be updated as necessary. He explained that the country will source Covid-19 vaccines from another source. Apart from the one million doses which have arrived, another 500 thousand will arrive.

Approximately 9 million doses will come from Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer have promised a further 20 million doses of the vaccine.

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