Patients sue for millions

2010-10-29 00:00

FRAUD and corruption as well as litigation cases have dealt a heavy blow to the purse of the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department.

This was revealed by MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo in his six months progress report to the legislature yesterday.

As part of the turnaround strategy a Joint Management Team (JMT) has come up with measures to deal with cases of alleged fraud and corruption within the department.

Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo revealed that since the latter part of 2009 the department has concentrated on a number of high profile cases of alleged fraud and corruption.

He said the results show that the concerted effort and decisive action is yielding the desired outcomes.

The department has recorded a total of 377 cases of alleged fraud and corruption between September last year to September this year.

According to Dhlomo 13 of these cases were finalised.

Of these cases 38 which are high profile have been investigated by the JMT and law enforcement agencies.

The investigations have led to the dismissal of eight staff members, six final written warnings, one case withdrawn due to lack of evidence, nine resignations by staff members and 11 cases are pending at varying stages of the investigative and criminal processes.

“Most recently towards the end of August an official of the department together with four accomplices, one of whom was her husband, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment for using an official order book to secure a loan of R2,8 million from Ithala Bank.

“More disturbing is the fact that a number of senior officials are currently being investigated for allegations of fraud and corruption.

“As these investigations are at a sensitive stage, details on these cases cannot be revealed.

Stringent measures are implemented in the supply chain management processes to minimise the risk of corrupt activities,” said Dhlomo in a statement.

The report also reveals that by the end of September 2010 the department had a total of 1 404 cases of litigation.

These are made up of 289 general civil, 310 medico-legal and 805 collision matters. These alarming claims arise from patient care.

The total contingent liability amounts to about R129 million being for the current financial year.

Since April this year a total of 68 claims amounting to R76,3 million were settled.

About R63 million was saved due to negotiated settlement offers.

“The complexities attached to health care delivery coupled with the challenges of a seriously constrained financial environment exacerbates the challenges we face in rendering the service and achieving our strategic goals.

“However, I firmly believe that we are achieving substantial successes in many areas but we will not sit back and be comfortable,” he said.

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