Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku slammed Jack Bloom over remarks stating that 3 832 patients died last year in hospitals as a result of 'negligence'. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

Pretoria - Gauteng member of the executive council (MEC) for Health, Bandile Masuku on Wednesday slammed the Democratic Alliance's (DA's) health spokesperson, Jack Bloom over the widely reported remarks stating that a total of 3 832 patients died last year in public hospitals as a result of 10 741 serious adverse events (SAEs), "which largely arise from avoidable medical negligence".

Masuku's spokesperson Kwara Kekana said Bloom was not speaking the truth.

"That statement [issued to the media by Bloom] saying serious adverse events in hospitals equates to medical negligence is factually inaccurate. It's actually quite incorrect and irresponsible of the DA," said Kekana.

"Serious adverse events are not necessarily medical negligence. Cases of medical negligence have to be proven. It is very careless and irresponsible of the DA to equate serious adverse events to medical negligence."

She said in the last financial year, Gauteng Health had over 21 million patients that were attended at various facilities. She said the figure for serious adverse events was at 0.057 percent of the 21 million patients attended to.

"In the first quarter [1 April to 30 June] of this current financial year, already over 1.6 million patients were seen in Gauteng public health facilities, and 0.0016 percent of those cases resulted in serious adverse events," said Kekana.

"Serious adverse cases identified in any of the facilities are reported within 24 hours of occurrence, investigated immediately and then presented to the facility patient safety incident committee. The case is then presented at the mortality and morbidity meeting for clinical review depending on the severity of each case, this is done in order to identify gaps in patient care and develop a quality improvement plan."

Bloom said the "shocking information" was supplied by Masuku in a written reply to the DA's questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

"An SAE is defined as an event that results in unintended harm to the patient by an act of commission or omission rather than by the underlying disease or condition of the patient," said Bloom.

Kekana argued that a patient's allergic reaction, depending on the severity, can be classified as a serious adverse event in a hospital.

The SAE death figures given to Bloom indicate that the Chris Hani Baragwanath had the lion's share of casualties totalling 1 763 followed by the Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria with 893 death. 

Other government hospitals on the list included the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital with 722 deaths, the Helen Joseph Hospital with 644 deaths, and the Thelle Mogoerane Hospital with 625. The Weskoppies Hospital in Pretoria had 504 SAE-related deaths.

The Bertha Gxowa District Hospital in Germiston had 409 -- leading the pack on district hospitals while the Tshwane District Hospital in Pretoria had a low 20 deaths.

African News Agency (ANA)