Urgent Healthcare Reform Required as Government Pays Out Over R23 Billion in Medico-Legal Claims

ActionSA expresses concern about the staggering R23 billion wasted away by Health Departments in settling medico-legal claims, particularly the over R534 million in claims and legal costs originating from the Western Cape.

The fact that the Western Cape accounts for over 270 medico-legal claims, resulting in payments amounting to over R500 million and R34 million for legal costs, highlights that in the absence of quality healthcare provided by well-resourced and professional medical professionals at highly efficient healthcare institutions, we are bleeding billions of rands to cover these claims.

Money that could have been spent on upgrading the Kraaifontein Day Hospital, improving the numerous Community Health Clinics that communities continuously register complaints about, or actually building the Klipfontein Hospital has been wasted away in settlement payments.

ActionSA is troubled by the fact that this figure represents the devastating cost of our broken healthcare system. More importantly, beyond the cost of settling these claims, it showcases that where clinics are understaffed, under-resourced, and doctors and nurses operate in appalling conditions, not only do healthcare professionals suffer, but consequently, patients are not afforded the best possible care.

It is in recognition of this issue that ActionSA has developed a detailed action plan to fix the public health system. This involves increasing expenditure on frontline healthcare services while reducing healthcare administration costs to below 10%.

Crucially, we will appoint more competent doctors, registrars, fellows, and specialists in the public health system, and address burnout among healthcare professionals by reviewing working conditions in public health facilities to identify and rectify systematic issues.

In response to the significant burden posed by the volume of medico-legal claims, we are committed to ensuring patients receive high-quality medical services by implementing quality assurance standards that prioritise dignified patient care.

ActionSA is committed to ensuring that we build a healthcare system that ensures every South African has access to affordable and quality healthcare.