Sunday, 14 July, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalEastern Cape Health boosts legal teams to fight bogus medical claims

Eastern Cape Health boosts legal teams to fight bogus medical claims

The Eastern Cape provincial Health Department is tackling bogus medical negligence team head on, beefing up its artillery of legal defences with a mass hiring of legal practitioners, according to spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo, who said it was not easy to retain staff due to the area’s rural nature.

The department faces a contingent liability of more than R38bn from hundreds of claims, having forked out almost R1bn in settlements in the past financial year alone, reports the Daily Dispatch, a large chunk of it going to cerebral palsy claims.

“The strengthening of the legal unit will boost the department’s capacity and ensure dubious medico-legal claims are picked up and dealt with to ensure they never see the inside of a courtroom,” said Kupelo.

He said their legal unit worked with the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) in the office of the Premier.

“Unscrupulous lawyers have colluded with unethical employees to target the department and make fraudulent claims that are costing us billions of rands, so the SIU has been appointed to investigate these.”

He said a R5m budget had been made available for the additional staff in the legal unit.
“The positions include a chief director, a director, and four deputy directors. The deputy directors will be allocated to the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital to provide support for health districts.

“Some of the highly litigated facilities are in OR Tambo district, so appointing deputy directors there should lead to an improvement.”

The department’s recent funding boost follows its victory in a case against a claimant who sued for R35.4m. Instead of paying out the lump sum, the department was directed by Judge Robert Griffiths to instead provide future medical care for the claimant’s child, who has cerebral palsy.

Court documents reveal that settlements often do not reach desperately ill and disabled child beneficiaries. In just one example, a single firm of attorneys paid just 24% of almost R500m in settlements to beneficiaries.


Daily Dispatch PressReader article – More lawyers to help health department fight bogus medical claims (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Eastern Cape ruling could change how medico-legal claims are settled


Court blocks Eastern Cape’s attempt to stop medical negligence payments


Eastern Cape medical negligence problem is ‘a runaway train’


Eastern Cape’s plan to turn tidal wave of negligence claims






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