Medical negligence claims at public healthcare facilities have reached a crisis point with a 45% increase in four years. Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said it is "wreaking havoc" and that part of this is not negligence but is due to people working in syndicates to defraud the state through bogus medical negligence claims. These syndicates consist of lawyers and some in the health profession itself. There are syndicates in State Attorneys Offices mismanaging cases deliberately so the state loses. There are hospital executives who report to the lawyers in these syndicates to start litigation. The Health budget cannot meet the billions claimed.
The new State Liability Amendment Bill proposes scrapping lump sum settlements for medical negligence claims of more than R1 million and replacing them with a structured settlement plan with scheduled payments. Successful claimants will receive future healthcare services at public health facilities that meet the standards of the Office of Health Standards Compliance. Claimants will be able to use private healthcare services, but will be liable for the portion of the bills that exceed public sector rates. The Bill aims to stop the massive fraud in provinces and having periodic payments solves the problem that the unused portion of a lump sum for future medical expenses was not retrievable by the state once the claimant died.
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