The Gauteng Health MEC on Friday announced measures to ease medical negligence claims to ensure that they are speedily finalised and they benefit the claimants.
Hopefully this terrific initiative will enable the quick resolution of medical negligence claims. Our experience to date has been that there is little or no response from the Health Authorities when we advise them of claims, and that they only pay attention to cases when they are at the doors of court, resulting in enormous wasted legal costs. This same MEC was slated by a judge in a recent court case for defending the claim on spurious grounds. Hopefully things will change soon – in the meantime our advice is to act now and talk later.
Retired judge to assist with mediation of cases
“With the assistance of a retired Judge, Judge Claasen, we are introducing alternative dispute resolution mechanism to manage cases where we have genuinely made a mistake,” said MEC Mahlangu during the presentation of her department’s budget on Friday, 19 June 2015.
“We fully support the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development’s initiative to encourage mediation as the first option in resolving
disputes between parties before lawyers are brought on board.”
MEC Mahlangu told the Gauteng Legislature that medical negligence cases pose a financial risk to the health budget due to the size of the contingent liability. While preventing these from occurring in the first instance, the department will do everything in its power to ensure that they are speedily finalised and the claimants are appropriately taken care of.
The department has appointed a team of competent and reputable law firms to audit all the case files that are already in the system. The team verifies whether money has been paid to the rightful beneficiaries and also if lawyers have not paid themselves more than what was due to them.
Workshops have been held with clinical heads in central hospitals and the focus is in the areas of obstetrics, neurosurgery, orthopaedics and anesthesiology.
MEC Mahlangu also mentioned that “Redress Committees have been established in all health facilities to pay particular attention in meeting with families who need answers and so that they are not sent from pillar to post”.
Lawyers who unduly benefit from the claims – instead of patients – the Department will report them to the Law Society.
Reported on Polity.org – click here to read the full article. Issued by Gauteng Health