The Gauteng health department has 78 court-ordered attachments of its bank account to pay for medical negligence.
In a reply to the DA’s questions in the provincial legislature on Monday, Health MEC Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi said the department had paid R228 million.
Mokgethi said the amounts paid out ranged from R7 301 for a case first laid in 2014 to R18.1 million (the largest amount) for a case that also dated back to 2014.
The oldest case dates back to 2013 for an amount of R8.99 million.
DA’s shadow MEC for health Jack Bloom said previously, that the Sheriff of the Court used to attach furniture from the department’s head office, but lawyers now attach the department’s bank account directly.
“It is shameful that the department has to be forced to pay court-ordered damages instead of paying promptly following the court case. Meanwhile, the victims of medical negligence have to wait longer for the payments that are due to them,” he said.
Earlier this month, the department reported that it received 157 new summonses last year and was facing claims of about R1.6 billion in medical negligence lawsuits.
The department said the legal attachment of its funds was a huge challenge as this diminished its ability to render services to patients as highlighted in the Constitution.
Bloom said 6 910 serious adverse events were recorded in Gauteng public hospitals last year, compared to 4 701 in 2020 and 4 170 in 2019.
“This highlights the urgent need to improve hospital management, fill all staff vacancies and ensure working equipment so that patients get proper care without medical negligence.”