Abstract:Access to healthcare is considered to be a basic human right. This paper explores the concept of access to public healthcare, with a particular focus on affordability, accessibility and accommodation. Furthermore, it highlights certain issues around the concept of access in the South African setting, by analysing the results from the General Household Surveys (2002–2009). Affordability of healthcare services and the positioning of the facilities were not identified as being key barriers to access. Instead, other aspects, such as accommodation to the patients’ needs and acceptability of services received had greater significance and should be prioritised in terms of any proposed healthcare reforms.