Health department probes theft of car accident patient files at Bara hospital

2016-09-29 22:09
Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

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Johannesburg - Two people have been arrested and an internal investigation has been launched after the theft of files belonging to patients involved in motor vehicle accidents, says the Gauteng department of health.

A runner at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and a woman who works for Alexander Forbes based inside the hospital were arrested on Saturday after a suspicious patient raised the alarm with hospital officials.

The patient was involved in a car accident and had been admitted to the hospital. During his stay the runner approached him offering to help him claim compensation from the Road Accident Fund but the patient declined the offer saying he could not afford a lawyer. When the patient made an enquiry about his file it was discovered that it was missing.

After collaborating with hospital staff and police the patient managed to secure a meeting with the runner who was then caught in the act. He outed his accomplice shortly after his arrest.

"We would like to thank the patient who was vigilant and alerted the hospital about a [runner] who wanted to assist him with a claim at RAF (Road Accident Fund)," Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu said in a statement.

"He co-operated with the hospital and as a result about four files were found from the said Alexandra Forbes employee who works at Chris Hani Baragwanath on a project."

Security upgrade on the cards

Mahlangu said seven more motor vehicle accident-related files were still missing at the hospital. It was not immediately clear how and when they had gone missing.

"Our concern is to establish how these files were taken out of the hospital. Hospital security must be upgraded and all vehicles must be thoroughly searched always and management will have to take a swift decision on our employees," Mahlangu said.

An internal investigation was launched and the department was currently in the process of improving its electronic information system at all its public health facilities, she said.

"We wish to call upon members of the public to be vigilant at all times and work with hospital officials on their information and not rely on outsiders.

"The MVA [motor vehicle accident] section will be temporarily closed to prepare for internal investigation, we apologise for the inconvenience," she added.

The two suspects were charged with possession of stolen goods and are currently out on bail.

Read more on:    raf  |  johannesburg  |  crime  |  health

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