Gauteng health department cut R2bn in medical negligence claims after mediation process

The department of health said they have managed to cut down on medical negligence claims
The department of health said they have managed to cut down on medical negligence claims
Image: 123RF/Lucian Coman

The Gauteng health department have managed to reduce its medical negligence claims by a whooping R2bn through interventions of CAJV investigative and legal company and mediation.

This has brought the claims to R20bn as compared to the R22bn that was reported in the last financial year. Speaking at the mediation strategy briefing at the department’s offices in Johannesburg, chief director of legal services Hlengiwe Goba said the company was appointed by the national department.

“It was appointed to clean the data and resolve issues of how much or how many cases have been processed so far. The R22bn was published in the state of the province report which was given by CAJV. As a department we wouldn’t want to move from that. We have started with mediation and in a space of two months we have settled six cases out of court. This has saved the department R10m on the capital amount and it is important to note that the greatest savings was on litigation costs which would have accumulated through the years even before the matter had gone to court,” Goba said.

She said it has been established that some of the claims were duplication and some were finalised long time ago.

“There were also 53 cases that were given to special investigating unit and the report went via the office of the Gauteng premier. About 10 of those cases will be closed because some of them are dormant and don't exist,” Goba said.

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku said the mediation process has proven to be one of the most successful factors in reducing cases of medical negligence and by large reducing the contingent liability thus far.

“It has cost effective tools and can be implemented at any stage, during or before the litigation process. It is less acrimonious and helps to improve the patient experience in the health system,” Masuku said.

Masuku said the mediation policy and the mediation strategy has been approved by the executive committee and the department started implementing it in October 2019. Masuku said the department is focusing mainly on the three key areas which are internal issues within institutions identified as the root causes of the issues around litigation, re-visit the consortium and standard operating procedure with the state attorney and also addressing the challenges within the head office legal services.

“This was adopted as a further strategy to not only mitigate litigation, but to also analyse and eradicate the actual root causes of medico-legal court cases.

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