Team to probe medical negligence claims
MEDICAL negligence claims, which grew from R28 billion to R43 billion, will be the subject of a probe by a task team formed to look into a host of issues relating to finances and delivery of services by the Health Department.
This was announced as Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi prepares to brief Parliament on measures aimed at stemming escalating medical negligence claims.
These claims took centre stage when the health and appropriations portfolio committees held joint meetings over three days last week.
The committees were told by National Treasury that medical legal claims were a concern, especially in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.
KwaZulu-Natal paid out R243 million in claims in the 2016/17 financial year, while the Eastern Cape forked out about R210m. Both provinces made payouts higher than any other province.
The situation has led National Treasury to call for improved systems to be put in place to manage the claims.
The escalating claims were so serious that the Gauteng Health Department has filed papers in the Constitutional Court to oppose lawyers charging 25% of future medical costs and 25% of the total claim.
“The committees welcomed the decision by the Gauteng health department to oppose the case and called on other provinces to support the province by being friends of the court during the court hearing.
“The committee proposed that the matter be escalated to the national Minister of Health,” chairpersons Lindelwa Dunjwa and Yvonne Phosa said in a statement.
Dunjwa and Phosa said the parliamentarians were also concerned about the exorbitant amounts paid by provincial departments to resolve the claims.
They said provinces had alleged that in some cases there was collusion between lawyers and departmental personnel.