Outstanding legal claims for medical negligence against Eastern Cape healthcare workers now total R37.67bn – more than double the value reported four years ago.
The provincial government’s huge medico-legal problem was described as “a runaway train” by the acting director of the Special Litigation Unit, Advocate Lwazi Kubukeli, in an interview with the Daily Dispatch.
Kubukeli’s newly-established unit is taking over the Eastern Cape Health Department’s litany of claims for damages, mainly due to babies being born with cerebral palsy as a result of woeful staff negligence.
Chief director for provincial legal services Rupert Fortune confirmed that by 31 December, the Eastern Cape’s contingent liability was R37.67bn. Fortune said there were 892 “active legal claims” on behalf of children born with cerebral palsy – covering the almost two-year period from April 2019 – but that there were several thousand cases in total.
The report says despite annual allocations for medico-legal claims now approaching the R1bn mark – R896m was paid out by December for the current financial year – the province’s total contingent liability as a result of the failures of health workers has been rising steadily.
The total liability is more than double the value of claims against the Health Department from the amount of R17bn published in 2017.
Full Daily Dispatch report (subscription needed)
See also MedicalBrief archives:Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape face R10.9bn in medical negligence claims
Questions over Eastern Cape strategy on R29bn in negligence claims