Medical negligence claims in South Africa in 2016/17 skyrocketed to R1.2 billion -- almost double what they were the year before, Times Live reports. Back in 2014, doctors warned that negligence claims could collapse the health system in an issue of the SA Medical Journal.
More than 5‚500 medical negligence claims have been made against the health department since 2014‚ Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told Times Live. And the number is growing.
Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said of medical negligence claims in his medium-term budget policy statement: "Although some of these claims are legitimate‚ others are unjustified or excessive. Estimated payouts for medical negligence claims have grown at an average rate of 45% since 2012/13 and amounted to R1.2 billion in 2016/17.
"The contingent liability arising from claims against the state at the end of the 2016/17 totalled an estimated R56 billion‚" he said.
"The more damages to be paid‚ the less money is available for service delivery‚ the poorer the quality of the service rendered by the hospital‚ the more room for negligence and error, the more claims. It's a vicious circle and if not addressed‚ the entire public health system will implode‚" a South African Law Reform Commission report states.