Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu has announced the measures the department has taken to deal with medical negligence cases in the province. The department said the measures are aimed at easing medical negligence claims, adding it will do everything in its power to ensure that cases are speedily finalised and the claimants benefit appropriately.
The department has appointed a team of competent and reputable law firms to audit all case files that are already in the system. “The team verifies whether money has been paid to the rightful beneficiaries and also if lawyers have not paid themselves more than what was due to them. “Workshops have been held with clinical heads in central hospitals and the focus is in the areas of obstetrics, neurosurgery, orthopaedics and anaesthesiology,” said the department.
On Friday, MEC Mahlangu presented the department’s budget vote before the Gauteng Legislature. She said medical negligence cases pose a financial risk to the health budget due to the size of the contingent liability. “With the assistance of a retired Judge, Judge Classen, we are introducing alternative dispute resolution mechanism to manage cases where we have genuinely made a mistake. “We fully support the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s initiative to encourage mediation as the first option in resolving disputes between parties before lawyers are brought on board,” said MEC Mahlangu.
Redress committees have been established in all health facilities in the province to pay particular attention in meeting with families who need answers, so that they are not sent from pillar to post. The department said lawyers who unduly benefit from the claims will be reported to the Law Society.