Gauteng Health Pays R276m for Medical Negligence

The Gauteng Health Department paid R276 million over two years for 110 legal claims, the vast majority for medical negligence at hospitals.

This is revealed in documents I obtained from the department after making an application under the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

The highest pay-out was R16.5 million in the case of Kutloano Ntsebeng Makgomarela, who was brain-damaged when she was born at the Tembisa Hospital.

The Sheriff of the court visited the department seven times in 2013/14 because of overdue payments, and R4.4 million was wasted in paying interest on overdue accounts

R155 million was paid for 59 legal claims for the 2013/14 financial year and R121 million in the previous year for 51 court cases,

The upward trend in negligence cases is worrying, as is the department’s poor handling of these cases as it has lost every single case in the past four years.

I hope that the court cases spur action by the department to root out bad medical practices that injure patients.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222

[Image source]

Disgraceful barring of media from Bara Hospital

I am appalled that members of the media were yesterday barred access to the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.


According to a report, they were invited to accompany the Public Service Commission on an inspection of the hospital, but the hospital’s CEO Sandile Mfenyane said he was following instructions from the Gauteng Health Department in barring them.


This is utterly disgraceful. We seem to be going backwards in access to hospitals to investigate service delivery problems.


I have previously been banned from Bara Hospital, and last year I was escorted off the premises of Helen Joseph Hospital by security guards because the department said I did not have permission to be there.


According to the Constitution, public representatives have the right to do unannounced inspections, and media also have rights that have now been denied by this hospital.


The Gauteng Health Department should respect the Constitution and allow reasonable access to hospitals to assess conditions.


They are undermining democracy and are no doubt fearful that poor treatment of patients will be exposed, like the photograph of two babies in a cardboard box that a newspaper published some years ago following a visit to Bara Hospital.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222


Who was consulted on the renaming of Gauteng hospitals?

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has said that “following a community participation process” three hospitals will be renamed, but previous procedures to ensure wide public involvement in such a matter have not been followed.Bloom-Jack1-240x300

According to Makhura, the Zola-Jabulani Hospital will be named after Bheki Mlangeni, the Natalspruit Hospital will be named after Thelle Mogoerane, and the Far East Rand Hospital after Ruth First.

These are all ANC struggle heroes and it is not clear who was consulted on the renaming.

Previously, there was a public call for suggested names, and the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee was also involved.

We have not been given a rationale as to why these three hospitals are being named after particular people.

This is not a good precedent by a new premier who has pledged to be a servant of the people.

There needs to be real community participation in any hospital renaming process.

The higher priority is actually to improve service at these hospitals so that they do not disgrace the names of the people they are going to be named after.

Media enquiries:
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222

Urgent need for Edenvale Hospital to be expanded

The Edenvale Hospital runs at an average 98% capacity, which often leads to over-crowding in casualty, and needs to be expanded from 230 beds to 450 beds.

This was a major concern expressed by Dr Norman Kearnes, the hospital CEO, during a visit by the Gauteng Legislature’s Health Committee on Thursday last week.

I have seen for myself how patients in casualty lie on the floor or in the corridors because there are not enough beds to be admitted.

Other issues include:

· Small repairs can take months because responsibility was transferred last year to the Infrastructure Development Department e.g. the casualty door has been broken for more than 3 months.

· While there is only a 3% vacancy rate in funded staff posts, the hospital is in desperate need of more doctors and nurses, which means that the official staff establishment should be increased.

· Waiting times are worse in the early morning but are more acceptable later in the day.

· Medicine shortages are dealt with by substitutions or getting from other institutions.

· The hospital scores only 50% on cleanliness according to national health standards.

The hospital budget is R266.6 million, but is expected to spend R340 million by the end of the financial year in March.

The expansion of Edenvale Hospital makes a lot of sense because the local population has grown rapidly.

The 800-bed Tembisa Hospital is horribly over-crowded and it appears that the Kempton Park Hospital will not be re-opened in the near future.

Plans for additional beds at Edenvale Hospital date back to 2006, and should be implemented as soon as possible.


Media enquiries:

Jack Bloom MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health

082 333 4222


Answers still needed on child deaths at Lenasia Clinic

I welcome Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu’s visit yesterday to the Lenasia South Clinic, but I am not satisfied that a full explanation has been given for why security guards barred two young children who died without being admitted.

It seems to me that clinic management is primarily to blame for not giving proper instructions to security to admit all emergency patients.

Mahlangu has said that the security company will be terminated and will be blacklisted from doing work for any other health facility.

She has also given clinic management one month to fix up problem areas.

However, we still need a full investigation of the two deaths and where the accountability really lies.

A survey should also be taken of all health facilities to ensure that guards operate under proper instructions.

Unfortunately, any action taken will not ease the pain of the parents of the children who died without being admitted.

Media enquiries:
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222

R14 million spent on half-built clinic in Randfontein

R14.2 million has been spent on a half-built clinic in Randfontein on the West Rand that was supposed to be completed in July last year.

This is revealed by Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Mayathula-Khoza, construction on the Randgate clinic was stopped at 52% progress and the contract with the Pazimo/Mintiro Joint Venture was terminated due to non-performance and poor quality on site.

Construction started on 7 May 2013 and it was supposed to be completed on 7 October 2014.


The contractor has been paid R10 084 173, and consultants have been paid R4 111 638.

This is yet another example of a huge waste of money due to a poor choice of contractor and poor monitoring of building progress.

Meanwhile, local residents suffer because a clinic is urgently needed in the area.

Mayathula-Khoza says that the appointment of a new contractor is at an advanced stage, and that June this year is the scheduled date for completion.

I doubt that this new deadline will be met and it is likely that another R10 million will be spent on this clinic because of the department’s incompetence.

We have seen cost over-runs and delays in large projects like the Jabulani and New Natalspruit hospitals, but smaller projects like clinics are also handled disastrously.

Professional project management needs to be established as soon as possible, otherwise more money will be lost when building new clinics and hospitals.

Media enquiries:
Jack Bloom MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health
082 333 4222