Tuesday, 25 June, 2024
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DA calls for state doctors to be held accountable for negligence

After a payout of R83m by the Mpumalanga provincial government to settle medical negligence cases, the DA has suggested public sector doctors should be held personally accountable and disciplined, saying the millions spent on these claims could go a long way in improving the state of facilities.

DA health spokesperson Jane Sithole said that most of the claims were related to children born with cerebral complications, reports News24.

Like many provinces, Mpumalanga has a dire shortage of human resources, including doctors, pharmacy assistants, professional nurses and others. Being overloaded has been considered one of the reasons doctors make costly mistakes that lead to lawsuits and out-of-court settlements.

A recent report by Ritshidze, the community monitoring organisation, shows that staff shortages at Mpumalanga health facilities have worsened over the past year.

Ritshidze monitored 43 health facilities across the province, and found that only 35% had enough clinical and non-clinical staff – a regression from 41% in 2022.

Additionally, 144 primary healthcare facilities had no visiting doctor and more than 200 clinics remain without a backup generator for electricity.

Sithole said it was “an open secret that public facilities are in an appalling state, and that consequence management was very weak as healthcare professionals are protected by the Public Finance Management Act. This makes provision for the department to be held liable and not the medical personnel”.

“However, the DA believes the department has the responsibility to investigate and to hold its employees accountable.”

Although 13 employees were on suspension with full salaries, none had been suspended for negligence or malpractice.

Sithole claimed MEC Sasekani Manzini and her administration seemed reluctant to hold them accountable and that it was crucial the department set out strict disciplinary measures.


News24 article – https://www.news24.com/citypress/news/govt-doctors-must-be-personally-held-accountable-for-medical-negligence-da-20230911 (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


How Mpumalanga Health is addressing clinic challenges


Mpumalanga Health underspends budget despite chronic staff shortages


Mpumalanga Health to pay R15.7 for child blinded at birth


Mpumalanga Health under investigation by Special Investigating Unit


Survey confirms difficulties of SA’s key populations in accessing healthcare


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