Eastern Cape Health MEC Pumza Dyantyi has decided to outsource the department’s legal representation, saying that the State Attorney’s Ofice had won only four cases out of 155 medico-legal claims brought against it since 2014.
The department faces R17bn in legal claims for negligence in the province’s state hospitals. Dyantyi said over the past three years representation by the State Attorney cost the department R204m.
‘The department has gone to the open market for a panel of medico-legal experts who will assist with the vigorous defence of medico-legal claims in court,’ she said. ‘This has been necessitated by the fact that the department has not been satisfied with the level of success of the State Attorney in medico-legal claims.
The bid process for this panel of experts is almost complete and the department expects to appoint a service provider before the end of July 2017.’
‘Are cases really undefendable or do the offices of the state attorney not have the capacity to deal with these cases?
‘If the remainder of the R17-billion in medico-legal claims also goes undefended, the overwhelming cost will collapse the department. This means that the department will either have to reduce or consolidate its facilities or reduce its services to the public. “At the end of the day, it is the people that will suffer, especially the poor, who rely on state medical care,’ she said.Daily Dispatch report