Alternative lender Merchant Capital has launched a working capital solution to help South African healthcare professionals facing financial challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This innovative financing offering is the product of collaborative co-innovation between Discovery Health seeking solutions for doctors, and Merchant Capital. Discovery Health plays an arm’s length facilitating role between the practices and Merchant Capital, and is not involved or benefitting financially in any way.

Private healthcare practices across the country, including general practitioners, specialists and dentists, have seen a significant decline in patient numbers as a result of the pandemic. SA Medical Association (SAMA) statistics suggest that private practices saw an average decline of 60% in patient numbers during the hard lockdown. Although patient numbers have subsequently increased, they remain 20% lower than normal.

The solution, WELL by Merchant Capital, was created specifically for healthcare professionals and will offer healthcare practices access to unsecured working capital to cover expenses. In an administratively seamless process, successful applicants will receive funds in as little as 24 hours, with repayments based on a fixed percentage of claims, to provide for flexibility during periods of interrupted or low turnover.

Professor Morgan Chetty, the head of the KwaZulu-Natal Doctors Healthcare Coalition (KZNDHC) and Chairman of the Independent Provider Association Foundation of South Africa (IPAF), said the Covid-19 pandemic was ‘a defining moment’ in healthcare, with numerous practices trying to survive the formidable financial challenges.

“These are unprecedented challenges, that bring great uncertainty about the future survival of medical practices. Merchant Capital’s response to support these practices has been swift, appropriate, professional and commendable, and will help more practitioners to stay in practice and to continue caring for their patients,” said Professor Chetty.


Dr. Ryan Noach, CEO of Discovery Health, said the pandemic had brought ‘unavoidable financial complexities’ for many healthcare professionals. “We’ve recognised the challenges that healthcare practitioners are facing, and want to ensure they have sufficient financial support over the COVID-19 crisis period to ensure their sustainability and full recovery. We’re innovating to ensure that we can facilitate an attractive financing offering between healthcare professional practices and Merchant Capital,” said Noach.

Merchant Capital CEO Dov Girnun said Covid-19 had pushed hundreds of medical practices across the country to the verge of collapse, and it was vital that all stakeholders helped find solutions to ensure the sustainability of private medical practices through this time.

“The innovative WELL by Merchant Capital product, will provide much-needed quick and easy access to unsecured working capital to help affected healthcare practices sustain their businesses by meeting operating costs such as rent and staff overheads in the short term and further be used to fund practice growth after the market recovers in the medium to long term,” said Girnun.

The launch is the latest in a series of initiatives by Merchant Capital to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. It had previously announced a partnership with Discovery Insure to provide struggling SMEs with working capital to assist with cash flow, and launched its RE-BOOT short-term finance product to provide the restaurant sector with working capital to re-open their establishments following  lockdown.

Over the past seven years, Merchant Capital has assisted close on 10,000 SMEs with working capital to the tune of R2 billion.

If any healthcare professionals would like to find out more about this working capital solution call us on 010 140 3242 or email us on

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