Gauteng medical liability drops from R22bn to R15.6bn but new claims still pour in
The Gauteng health department has brought down its medico-legal liability from R22bn to R15.6bn, but R589m was claimed in new letters of demand from July to September this year.
This was revealed in a presentation by the department to the Gauteng Legislature health committee this week, said veteran DA MPL Jack Bloom.
According to the report, the reduction is the result of:
• a reduction of R3.03bn through the proper verifying of actual claims;
• settlements amounting to R532m from last year to date;
• a further saving of R2.78bn as a result of forensic investigation of 305 matters;
• a further reduction of R102m by successful mediation of cases from October 2019 to August 2020.
Bloom commended the department for these measures, which have exposed fraudulent claims and speedily settled some claims through mediation.
He was however concerned that there were new medico-legal claims of R589m in letters of demand from July to September this year.
“The problem is that too many patients are still suffering injury in our hospitals because of medical errors.”
Bloom said this was evident from these recent settlements of cases by mediation:
• R1,970,000 paid to a child whose leg was amputated through negligence at Heidelberg Hospital.
• R250,000 awarded to the parents of a baby that was stillborn at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
• R800,000 awarded to the mother of another stillborn baby at Bara, who suffered a hysterectomy after a botched caesarean operation.
“The way forward should include accountability for those who are guilty of medical negligence, and proper staffing, training and equipment to ensure quality care for all patients,” said Bloom.
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