More peo­ple su­ing health depart­ment – min­is­ter

Study urges re­form to cut soar­ing costs

Sowetan - - News - By Bianca Ca­pa­zo­rio

ac­count­ing for al­most half of this at R566-mil­lion.

Ear­lier this year‚ pro­vin­cial health de­part­ments ap­pear­ing be­fore par­lia­ment said claims were sky­rock­et­ing mostly as a re­sult of un­scrupu­lous per­sonal in­jury lawyers tak­ing ad­van­tage of the sys­tem in much the same way as the Road Ac­ci­dent Fund had been used.

In last week’s mini bud­get speech Fi­nance Min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba said “es­ti­mated pay­outs for med­i­cal negligence claims have grown at an av­er­age rate of 45% since 2012/13 and amounted to R1.2-bil­lion in 2016/17”.

Ear­lier this year‚ the South African Law Re­form Com­mis­sion re­leased a dis­cus­sion pa­per on medi­cole­gal claims af­ter be­ing ap­proached in 2015 to in­ves­ti­gate the mat­ter.

That re­port in­di­cates an “ur­gent” need for law re­form as no spe­cific leg­is­la­tion ex­ists to deal with med­i­cal-spe­cific claims. It also states that the im­pact of th­ese claims is “reach­ing dire pro­por­tions”.

“The more dam­ages to be paid‚ the less money is avail­able for ser­vice de­liv­ery‚ the poorer the qual­ity of the ser­vice ren­dered by the hospi­tal‚ the more room for negligence and er­ror‚ the more claims.

“It’s a vi­cious cir­cle and if not ad­dressed‚ the en­tire pub­lic health sys­tem will im­plode‚” it states.

It also points to grow­ing claims in the pri­vate sec­tor, say­ing the Med­i­cal Pro­tec­tion So­ci­ety‚ the largest in­dem­nity backer for health pro­fes­sion­als, found that long-term claim fre­quency in­creased by 27% be­tween 2009 and 2015.

The num­ber of claims ex­ceed­ing R1-mil­lion had in­creased by nearly 550% and those ex­ceed­ing R5-mil­lion had grown by 900% in the five years since 2008.

The re­port states that while “no at­tor­ney can man­u­fac­ture a le­gal claim where none ex­ists” con­cerns had been raised about at­tor­neys’ be­hav­iour, which ranged “from ag­gres­sive to un­eth­i­cal to bla­tantly il­le­gal”. – TimesLIVE

If (claims) not ad­dressed‚ the pub­lic health sys­tem will im­plode

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.