In South Africa, the public healthcare system is structured in different levels:
- Clinics treat common health needs, known as ‘primary health care’. Clinics refer patients to hospitals when a patient needs further treatment. Clinics are run by specially trained primary health care nurses. There are different types of clinics such as mobile and satellite clinics.
- Community Health Centres are larger clinics and they usually have doctors as well as nurses.
- Hospitals are for surgery, emergency treatment and serious illness that cannot be treated at the Clinic. Clinics and doctors refer patients to hospitals: individuals can only present themselves without a referral if it is an emergency.