Wits HSS

Wits Health Systems Science (HSS) is a unit within the Clinical Governance Initiative in the Deanery, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand.

Many clinicians bemoan the fact that they lack management skills to manage their contexts on behalf of their patients.  The health system or service is growing to be large, costly and complex environment in which clinicians are increasingly feeling alienated.

The Dean, Prof Martin Veller, prioritized this issue with the development of the Clinical Governance Initiative (CGI) in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Witwatersrand and recently renewed the focus on Health Management by making it a Unit within CGI under the leadership of Associate Professor Shabir Moosa. The Dean is keen to build a collective around this initiative as an academic endeavor within Faculty.

This space is relatively new and there are many different terminologies being used.  Clinical Governance started in the United Kingdom (UK) with the original idea by Scalley and Donaldson and has been expanded since as a key improvement strategy for the UK National Health Service. The  American Medical Association has deemed Health Systems Science as a third pillar to medical training, with basic sciences and clinical training. They have engaged various universities and commissioned a textbook to develop this area.

In Wits, health management is already taught, including Management Courses at the School of Public Health (SPH) and the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management (CLM), as well as Practice Management in Family Medicine in the School of Clinical Medicine (SOCM). It is important that this is not about managers teaching clinicians how to become managers but clinicians with requisite skills and experience teaching clinicians how to manage their contexts as clinicians, hence the preferred term “Health System Sciences” and its location within the School of Clinical Medicine and Faculty of Health Sciences.

The Wits philosophy for Health Systems Science is “Healthcare workers as leaders for change”. We should be preparing clinicians (both at undergraduate and postgraduate level) for an integrated public-private setting (including the proposed National Health Insurance in South Africa). See the themes