Since January last year, the Gauteng Health Department has been forced to pay R228 million by 78 court-ordered attachments of its bank accounts to pay for medical negligence.
This was revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
The amounts paid out range from R7301 for a case first laid in 2014, and the largest amount is R18.1 million for a case that also dates back to 2014.
The oldest case dates back to 2013 for an amount of R8.99 million.
Previously, the Sheriff of the court used to attach furniture from the Department’s head office, but lawyers now attach the Department’s bank accounts directly.
It is shameful that the Department has to be forced to pay court-ordered damages instead of paying promptly following the court case.
Meanwhile, the victims of medical negligence have to wait longer for the payments that are due to them.
The tidal wave of negligence claims continues – 157 new summonses which claim R1.6 billion were sent to the Department in the last year.
Furthermore, 6910 Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) were recorded in Gauteng public hospitals last year, compared to 4701 SAEs in 2020 and 4170 SAEs in 2019.
This highlights the urgent need to improve hospital management, fill all staff vacancies, and ensure working equipment so that patients get proper care without medical negligence.