IFP: Where Are Plans to Address Medico-Legal Claims?

Sep 28, 2023 | Press Releases

The IFP, as the Official Opposition in the KZN Legislature, has lamented the lacklustre attitude by the KZN Department of Health in failing to address medico-legal claims.

This comes after the Auditor-General (AG) recently revealed in National Parliament that medical negligence claims have now risen to R125 billion, with KwaZulu-Natal’s medico-legal claims amounting to R31.7 billion.

Where is the money going to come from to pay for these claims? The huge sums being spent clearly indicate that the Department is not implementing measures to prevent medico-legal claims.

For several years the Department has been talking about addressing medico-legal claims, yet nothing has happened. Medico-legal claims take a large chunk of the budget and this unfunded mandate is a cause for serious concern.

Based on the findings of the AG, it is clear that the R50.7 billion budget allocated to the Department of Health for the 2023/2024 financial year will be adversely impacted by medico-legal claims.

These claims take money away from what the IFP would like to see the Health Budget addressing, particularly issues affecting the proper functioning of hospitals and clinics. Budget should instead be invested to:

  1. Address staff shortages in hospitals and clinics.
  2. Address the shortage of beds (as has been the case at Northdale Hospital, where patients were allegedly sleeping on the floor and in ambulances).
  3. Maintain, repair, and rebuild ageing infrastructure.
  4. Improve security in hospitals and clinics.
  5. Build more clinics closer to the people. 

Speaking at the 2nd Presidential Health Summit held on 4 and 5 May 2023 in Gauteng, President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Special Advisor on Social Policy, Prof. Olive Shisana, stated that provinces that showed no progress with managing down accruals and medico-legal claims should not be bailed out.

As the IFP we concur: there must be consequence management for those who incur these claims, and provinces must implement strategies to minimise future claims.

The Department cannot afford to spend billions on medico-legal claims, particularly while hospitals and clinics remain understaffed, patients remain without beds, and infrastructure is falling apart.

The IFP therefore challenges the KZN MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane, to present progress reports on her plans to mitigate medico-legal claims. We want to see people contributing to the costs of medical negligence in hospitals and clinics, and be held accountable and made to pay those claims.

Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health
078 302 3991

Recent Headlines

IFP Press Conference to Provide an Update on the Government of National Unity

IFP President and NEC to Brief Media on GNU

The IFP NEC will meet today in light of the widespread uncertainty prevailing as it pertains to the Government of National Unity (GNU). The IFP President Hon. Velenkosini Hlabisa, MP, will thereafter at a press conference provide an update on these matters today. The...

IFPYB Welcomes Changes in the Department of Higher Education

GNU: IFP’s Position on Interpretation of Clause 24

The IFP has taken note of the on-going public disagreements between the ANC’s Mr Fikile Mbalula and the DA’s Mrs Helen Zille, as it pertains to clause 24 of the Government of National Unity (GNU) statement of intent. To that end, the IFP President Hon. Velenkosini...

IFP Secures 7 Wards in KZN By-Elections

IFP Secures 7 Wards in KZN By-Elections

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal is overwhelmed with gratitude to the people of the province, following its resounding victory in yesterday’s by-elections, where the Party secured 7 out of 12 contested wards. The IFP has gained a majority in several...