Making The Leap Public to Private

By: Tracy Ncama

A Physiotherapist’s Perspective in South Africa.

As a physiotherapist in South Africa, I have had the privilege of working in both public and private healthcare settings. My journey began in the public sector, where I was exposed to a high volume of patients and a wide range of conditions. However, straight after community service, I made the transition to private hospital-based care. In this blog post, I will share my experiences, highlighting the differences between public and private healthcare, the benefits of both, and why I have finally chosen to stick with private hospital-based care.

Public Healthcare Experience

Working in the public sector was a challenging yet rewarding experience. I was part of a dedicated team providing essential healthcare services to a large and diverse patient population. The public sector offered me the opportunity to work with patients from all walks of life, exposing me to a broad range of conditions and cases. I developed strong clinical skills, learned to work efficiently under pressure, and appreciated the value of teamwork.

However, the public sector also presented several challenges. Limited resources, inadequate equipment, and high patient loads often made it difficult to provide the level of care I wanted to deliver. Long waiting times, overcrowding, and bureaucratic red tape added to the frustration.

Private Healthcare Experience

In contrast, working in private hospital-based care has offered me a more personalized and specialized approach to patient care. The private sector has allowed me to develop a more nuanced understanding of my patients’ needs, enabling me to deliver tailored treatment plans and achieve better outcomes.

Moreover, the private sector has given me the opportunity to work in a more autonomous and professional environment. I have greater control over my workload, allowing me to manage my time more effectively and focus on delivering exceptional patient care.

Differences and Benefits

The most significant difference between public and private healthcare is the level of resources available. Private hospitals have access to advanced technology, modern facilities, and a more extensive range of specialists, enabling them to provide a higher standard of care.

Public healthcare, on the other hand, offers a more comprehensive range of services, including community outreach programs, health education, and preventive care. The public sector plays a vital role in addressing the healthcare needs of the broader population, particularly in underserved areas.

Benefits of Public Healthcare:

– Exposure to a wide range of conditions and cases
– Opportunity to work with a diverse patient population – Development of strong clinical skills
– Teamwork and camaraderie

Benefits of Private Healthcare:

– Access to state-of-the-art equipment and facilities – Personalized and specialized patient care

– Greater autonomy and professional environment – Better work-life balance

Why I Chose Private Hospital-Based Care

After weighing the pros and cons of both public and private healthcare, I have chosen to stick with private hospital-based care. While I acknowledge the importance of public healthcare and the valuable experience I gained in the sector, I believe that private healthcare aligns better with my career goals and personal values.

In private hospital-based care, I can provide high-quality care, develop meaningful relationships with my patients, and work in a more autonomous and professional environment. I have greater control over my workload, allowing me to manage my time more effectively and focus on delivering exceptional patient care.


My journey from public to private healthcare has been a transformative experience. Both sectors have their strengths and weaknesses, and each has played a significant role in shaping me into the physiotherapist I am today. While public healthcare offered me a broad range of experiences and skills, private hospital-based care has provided me with the opportunity to deliver high-quality care in a more personalized and specialized manner. I am confident that my decision to stick with private hospital-based care will enable me to continue growing as a physiotherapist and make a meaningful difference in the lives of my patients.