The Gauteng Health Department is reeling from R228 million worth of attachments from 78 court orders, Democratic Alliance (DA) shadow minister of health, Jack Bloom has said in a recent statement.
These attachments stem from a series of medical negligence across the province's public hospitals since the beginning of January 2021.
According to the DA, the department has been forced to pay R228 million to settle these court orders, with Bloem saying the matter was revealed by department of health MEC, Dr Nomathemba Mokgethi during a written reply to the Gauteng Legislature.
The amounts paid out range from R7 301 for a case first laid in 2014, and the largest amount is R18.1 million for a case that also dates back to 2014 with the oldest case going back as far as 2013 for an amount of R8.99 million.
Bloom says that in the past, the sheriff of the court used to attach furniture from the Department’s head office, but lawyers now attach the Department’s bank accounts directly.
"It is shameful that the Department has to be forced to pay court-ordered damages instead of paying promptly following the court case. Meanwhile, the victims of medical negligence have to wait longer for the payments that are due to them," Bloom said.
He added that , the wave of negligence claims continue in the Gauteng public health facilities with more that 157 new summonses which claim R1.6 billion was sent to the Department in the last year.
The news came just as the department had reported that it had acquired 6910 Serious Adverse Events which were recorded in Gauteng public hospitals last year, compared to 4701 SAEs in 2020 and 4170 SAEs in 2019.
"This highlights the urgent need to improve hospital management, fill all staff vacancies, and ensure working equipment so that patients get proper care without medical negligence," Bloom said.