The Health Department is proposing a fund that will deal with the medical claims ballooning in all nine provinces. This, notes a Sunday Tribune report, was revealed by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize when he briefed the National Assembly’s Health Committee last week. The matter was brought up by Freedom Front Plus leader Philip van Staden when he asked what the department was doing to eradicate the problem of medical claims in the Eastern Cape. The National Treasury revealed in the Budget this year that medical claims rose from R97bn in the 2018/19 financial year to R111bn in the 2019/20 period. Mkhize told MPs the issue of medical claims was a problem not only in the Eastern Cape but in the entire country.
The government was ‘working out a mechanism on how to deal with litigation in general’, Mkhize said a fund similar to the newly-formed No Fault Compensation Fund for Covid-19 vaccinations would be set up to take care of the medical claims. ‘We can budget for it and cap it at a particular level. Right now, medical legal costs are a runaway horse that no one can control,’ he said. There was a lot of exploitation of government resources, which must stop at a certain point, the Minister said. ‘The only way we can do it is to create a framework which allows us to curb the cost and expenditure and make sure there is an easier way for people to get protection in cases of mismanagement, negligence or any kind of problems. If they suffer any harm, they can go through that process without having to face exorbitant charges by lawyers and a lot of extortion that we see happening to this fund,’ he said.