Free State hospitals swamped by malpractice cases

2015-05-20 15:41
Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein. (File, Charl Devenish)

Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein. (File, Charl Devenish)

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Bloemfontein - The Free State Department of Health is facing 184 malpractice cases to the value of R700m against it – and not a single employee has been dismissed for malpractice in the last 11 years, according to the local DA.

But the provincial health department says that number is inflated and many of the claims are without substance.

The majority of cases have been brought against the Pelonomi Regional Hospital and Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein.

Both hospitals have constantly faced staff, equipment and medicine shortages for more than two years now.

Some of the cases date from 2004 and have still not been resolved.

“The Pelinomi Hospital, for example, has been without hot water for the past two years. The boilers are broken and no attempt has been made to fix them. Just think of all the infections that could have been prevented,” said DA MPL Mariette Pittaway.

“And the Autoclave machine, used for sterilisation, has been broken for years.”

Staff not to blame

She stressed, however, that the staff at these hospitals are not to blame.

“They do the best they can with what they have available, but they fight a losing battle due to a severe shortage of medicine and working equipment. I can’t tell you how many doctors pay for consumables and medicine out of their own pockets.”

“This is a national health crisis, but I believe the Free State suffers the most.”

Head of the Health Department, Dr David Motau, acknowledged that there were “quite a few” cases against the department – more than 170 – but denied that anything near R700m was involved. According to him, the Department of Health has not paid out anything in malpractice cases in the past financial year.

“Lawyers are encouraging people to make claims against the department. Many of these claims are without substance,” he told News24.

The exact details of each of the cases are not known, but Pittaway plans to submit written questions to MEC Malakoane in this regard.

Read more on:    da  |  bloemfontein  |  health

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