Masuku: Medical litigation to cost Gauteng govt R19.8bn in 2020

Health MEC Bandile Masuku said the health department was now using mediation more than litigation, and said they saved R38 million last year.

FILE: Former Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku. Picture: @BandileMasuku/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku said he anticipated that medical litigation would cost the province R19.8 billion in 2020 – nearly a third of his R56 billion budget.

On Friday, Masuku said the department was now using mediation more than litigation – and said they saved R38 million last year.

But the figures show the staggering levels of negligence of both patients and employees in the sector and the resulting liability for government.

In January, the health MEC announced that his department had reached an undisclosed settlement with the family of 76-year-old Martha Marais - who was tied to a bench at the Mamelodi hospital.

That settlement forms part of payments made by the department instead of being taken to court.

“The introduction of the mediation process has thus far saved the department over R38 million between October 2019 and March 2020.”

But that saving is only 0.2% of the total R22 billion that the province paid last year in lawsuits - and a huge portion of the budget for this year.

“We anticipate the contingent liability of medico-legal cases to be reduced from R22 billion to R19,8 billion in the current financial year.”

In Masuku’s health budget of R55.7 billion, the next highest amount is HIV/Aids and TB at R5.2 billion and infrastructure at R1.1 billion.

Employee wellness, the likely source of negligence, gets a meagre R5.6 million, yet the MEC said his vision was patient-centred and clinician-led.