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Health MEC: Soon doctors & nurses will be accountable for medical negligence

There are dozens of medical negligence cases in SA with the Eastern Cape govt being sued the most followed by Gauteng. Life Esidimeni tragedy is the most negligent case in post-apartheid SA.

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – While Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa says her department has established legal ways to hold health workers personally liable for medical negligence, National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) has told Eyewitness News it is prepared to fight this and protect its members.

There are dozens of medical negligence cases in South Africa with the Eastern Cape government being sued the most, followed by Gauteng.

One of these cases includes the Life Esidimeni tragedy which resulted in at least 144 deaths.

So far, in that case, more than R159 million of taxpayers' money, which is meant for the improvement of services, has been used to rectify the government's poor decision.

LISTEN: Lying in State: The Life Esidimeni Tragedy - Wasted taxes and ill health

Esidimeni tragedy is the most negligent case in post-apartheid South Africa. This is not the only case and questions are being asked about why individual health workers, including nurses and doctors, as well as politicians, are almost never held personally liable.

Nehawu's Khaya Xaba says this would not be fair.

“The blame should fall squarely on the employer.”

But Ramokgopa says soon individuals will be held to account.

“HR will also come into things and can hold nurses and doctors liable.”

Only 134 families affected by the government's decision on Life Esidimeni have been paid for compensation but there were more than 1,700 transfers.

When he announced his decision in March, retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke told the government it would have to pay compensation to any other family that may come forward to claim if investigation shows their loved one was moved during the period that was under investigation.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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