Gauteng health dept pays out R544m in negligence cases

2015-09-01 17:55

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Johannesburg - Up to R544m has been paid out in damages and settlements by the Gauteng health department.

The sum, which relates to medical negligence cases, is for the period between January 2010 to the end of the 2014/15 financial year. 

This is according to MEC Qedani Mahlangu.

Replying to a question in the Gauteng legislature from DA MPL Jack Bloom, who also asked how many cases the department had won and lost, Mahlangu said the department had lost 168 cases in court.

While Mahlangu did not have the correct information in terms of how many cases had been won, she said eight had been settled out of court.

"Part of the strategy is to engage with the patients and families much more. All the hospitals have mechanisms now, they are called... redress committees," she said.

"Where we know that we have wronged the family or patient... we are able to engage with them much more and admit guilt where indeed we have wronged the patient and families. We have also introduced a dispute resolution mechanism."

She said until recently the department had fought cases in court, but Premier David Makhura had instructed her department to do things differently. 

"We are going to look at all the cases, all the merits of all the cases, and on the basis of that settle where we need to settle but also negotiate with the families," Mahlangu said.

In response, Bloom welcomed the department's move to negotiate with families and to settle cases where necessary.

"Amazingly the Honourable MEC can't tell me how many cases the department has won in court since January 2010. Well I can tell you how many cases they've won in court. Zero. Nothing. They've lost every single one," he said.

The R544m was an "astounding figure" that could have been used to improve hospital facilities across the province, he said.

Read more on:    david makhura  |  johannesburg  |  local government  |  politics  |  health

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