Health owes patients R4 billion in claims

17 July 2018  Read: 269


R4 346 796 768 is still outstanding in the 796 unresolved Medico Legal claims by patients against the Limpopo Health Department. That means that Dr Pophi Ramathuba’s health department is costing tax payers in the Limpopo province in excess of R4 billion over the course of just four years.

Again, the amount and time frame of these legal claims point to a system that is as unhealthy as the patients it is failing to adequately provide treatment for. Of the 796 unresolved claims, 203 were lodged in 2014/2015 and 249 during the 2017/2018 period. The rise in the medico legal claims shows that there is a drastic decline in proper health care which is resulting in patients suing the health department.

When broken down into categories according to the nature of the claims it is shocking to note that 347 of the claims are related to orthopaedics, surgical and ‘others’ while 199 relate to gynaecology and obstetrics. Cerebral palsy accounts for 250 claims.

Even more shocking still, are the 33 resolved claims which amount to R105 million. That’s right, 33 claims were resolved (27 through court orders) of which 14 cases totalled R74 million. That is an average of R5,3 million per case. We asked the health department why there were so many unresolved claims and what the department plans to do to ensure these claims are resolved.

“These are mostly before the courts and their resolution depends entirely on court processes,” said Neil Shikwambana, spokesperson for the Limpopo Department of Health.

He offered no further insight into the reason behind the claims or whether the Department plans to work on minimizing the number of law suits against them annually. As usual, spokespersons answer only a direct question and do not elaborate out of their own accord to offer the reader clarity. We have issued another media enquiry to the Department and it is our hope that this time we will not have to wait two weeks for a response.



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