Gauteng medical negligence claims reach R2.5 billion

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

Deputy Spokesperson on Health

Medical negligence claims against the Gauteng Health Department stood at R2.532 billion, following the addition of a further R1.285 billion at the end of the most recent financial year.

According to the department’s recently released annual report it was facing a total of R2.7 billion in legal claims, of which the bulk were medico-legal claims and civil claims. This total is up from R1.6 billion in the 2011/12 financial year.

Last year the department also spent R144 million on legal fees, more than double the R68 million for the year prior.

The City Press recently revealed the “litany of horror” that makes up the more than 300 cases of medical negligence against the Gauteng Health Department, which at that staged totalled R1.9 billion.

It is clear that the problem is not only bigger than initially reported, but becoming worse every year.
The rise in medico-legal claims in Gauteng shows the urgent need for effective management and proper training of public healthcare staff in Gauteng.

Gauteng Health MEC Hope Papo must also develop a comprehensive plan to tackle incidents of medical negligence which, in many cases, do permanent damage to patients’ prospects of living a happy and fulfilled life.