Tuesday, 25 June, 2024
HomeMedico-LegalMedico-legal claims bill slashed, says KZN Health

Medico-legal claims bill slashed, says KZN Health

While the KZN Department of Health has apparently reduced the costs of medico-legal claims against it, slashing a R459.5m bill to R242.5m, opposition parties have queried the accuracy of its figures.

The department attributed the decline to various steps it had taken, including establishing a directorate to investigate all potential and current claims lodged against it.

There have been concerns over the years that this expenditure item, which has run into billions of rands annually, could bankrupt the department if not contained.

The Mercury reports that in 2019, according to the Office of the Auditor-General, the department was facing lawsuits amounting to nearly R20bn.

But while tabling the department’s budget this month, Health MEC Nomagugu Simelane said the department had finalised 33 medico-legal cases during 2021/2022, at a cost of R242.5m. The cases had an initial cost at the summons stage of R459m but this figure had been reduced due to the hard work by the directorate, she said.

Sceptical opposition parties said the department was painting a rosy picture while the costs attached to the item continued to climb.

Department spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa told The Mercury that the decline in the costs was real, pointing to various steps taken to arrest the runaway expenditure.

The department had appointed legal experts to investigate every potential claim lodged against it and advised on the correct course of action, as well as the quantum of damages to be awarded where necessary.

Other factors included mediation to reduce the costs of medico-legal claims, where cases are resolved without having to go through the costly court processes.

But DA health spokesperson Dr Rishigen Viranna said the department was attempting to dupe the public into believing costs had declined, citing the enforced COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 as the real reason the department had seen a decline in claims.


The Mercury Pressreader article – Dramatic drop in medico-legal claims bill (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Phaahla vows to close loopholes, end medico-legal claims


KZN Health’s turnaround plan labelled an ‘attack on lives’


Medicolegal claims double to R74bn and fuel an exodus of specialists



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