Medical litigation: a crisis for healthcare system of South Africa - Motsoaledi

The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi spoke to John Robbie about the increase in medical malpractice litigation. According to Dr Motsoaledi, the litigation cases against health care practitioners have reached a level of crisis causing practitioners to avoid certain areas of specialisation due to an increase in the costs of indemnity.

He said that 8 years ago gynaecologists were paying R76 000 in indemnity and now they are paying R450 000.

He also said that if all the claims made in the public sector from all the provinces in the country were to be paid, the amount will constitute for 20% of the total health budget of the country.

The Minister suggested three solutions:

  1. Medical Solution - get our house in order and minimise the chances of litigation ever coming our way
  2. Administrative solutions - have an administrative solution that focuses on the patients not on lawyers with huge fees
  3. Law solutions - look at which part of the law can limit the excess that are taking place

According to Dr Motsoaledi the Medical Profession Society, which protects 24 000 South African doctors, has confirmed that there is an explosion of litigation cases in terms of the number of cases and the amounts claimed

The targeted areas which receives the most litigation claims includes obstetrics, gynaecology, neonatology and Neurosurgery says Dr Motsoaledi.

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