Legal claims against Department of Health amount to a staggering R125 billion

FF Plus

Legal claims against Department of Health amount to a staggering R125 billion
Legal claims against Department of Health amount to a staggering R125 billion

At present, there are 15 148 claims lodged against the Department of Health amounting to a total value of R125 billion. It has increased with about a billion rand since 2021. In total, 96% of these are medical legal claims.

These shocking figures were released by the Auditor-General (AG) this morning during a meeting of the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health.

The exceptionally high number of claims against the Department is understandable considering the terrible state of the public healthcare sector.

Earlier this year, the FF Plus asked the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to investigate the poor treatment of patients in state and provincial hospitals.

The FF Plus also launched its own campaign about it and complaints keep flooding in.

The Minister of Health recently confirmed in response to a question by the FF Plus that there currently exists a backlog if 175 000 medical procedures.

Many of these are operations that had to be cancelled because the air conditioning systems in theatres are not working properly and it creates a risk for patients to develop infections.

This is an indication of the unbearable conditions in state and provincial hospitals.

This past Thursday (6 October), the FF Plus had to step in and help a four-year-old patient at the Far East Rand Hospital in Gauteng, whose arm was badly broken, to get the urgent operation he needed.

This is just one example of the frequent complaints that the FF Plus receives from people who are in dire need of medical care. The party tries to help wherever it can, and is grateful when its efforts bear fruit.

Regarding the AG’s report on claims against the Department of Health, the FF Plus will demand a comprehensive report on all the legal claims.

The report must detail what each of the claims entails as well as what the reasons or causes are.

If government had been competent and state hospitals were managed effectively, the Department would not have such a great number of claims against it.

The money spent on paying out claims must rather be spent on upgrading infrastructure, building new hospitals, procuring vital medical equipment and medicine, and filling critical positions, like nurses and doctors.

It is a fact that mismanagement, maladministration and corruption have totally destroyed the once effective public healthcare system.

And under ANC rule, it cannot be turned around, especially not with the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill.

The public healthcare system must first be restored completely before the NHI Bill can even be considered.

And even then, medical experts should design and implement new and improved plans for a national healthcare system.

ANC politicians simply cannot be trusted to deliver high quality healthcare to South Africans.

Meanwhile, the private healthcare sector must be allowed to do its job and provide top quality services to its members. Nationalising this sector will cause healthcare in general to decline even further.

The respective province’s share in the legal claims amounting to R125 billion is as follows:

1. KwaZulu-Natal: R31 700 653 860,09
2. Eastern Cape: R30 784 682 000,00
3. Gauteng: R23 032 525 914,21
4. Limpopo: R14 291 785 417,00
5. Mpumalanga: R9 600 000 000,00
6. North West: R5 958 891 330,00
7. Free State: R5 017 151 663,41
8. Western Cape: R3 356 241 531,46
9. Northern Cape: R1 564 225 626,46

Read the original article in Afrikaans by Philip van Staden on FF Plus