South African parliament extends discussion time on Medical Negligence bill

South African parliament extends discussion time on Medical Negligence bill

The parliament extended the written submissions deadline for the Medical Liability Bill to the 16th of November. The extended deadlines will hopefully give the public a better chance to exercise their rights and have their opinions voiced.

If the Bill passes, we will see the patients who successfully lodge their medical negligence claims against the state receive periodic payments instead of lump sum payments. It will also limit the care to the public health-care facilities. What the Bill wants is to ensure that the patient benefits from the consequences and liability issues and also ensure that it comes in various packages and not one form, which is interesting to follow for medical negligence solicitors in the country.

The Medical Negligence Bills budgets are often netted using the taxpayer’s money and there have been over 5,500 such recorded cases. Some of these might prove genuine, but the majority of them are unjustified leading to a big contingent liability in Government books. It is not a wonder the parliament is looking forward to cutting those figures.

Health departments are struggling to meet their medical obligations while at the same time having to pay Billions to the claims facing them. Between 2011 and 2016 alone, there was a recorded increase of 35% in the number of claims made.

Aaron Motsoaledi, the Health Minister said this wreaking havoc is as a result of people working towards defrauding the state through false medical claims. There are several reasons leading to the rise of these medical claims including increased public awareness of their patient rights coupled by the deliberative marketing by personal injury lawyers.

“There few options to make up for the losses since minimizing on spending or introduction of new Taxes will be no doubt met with resistance,” said Gigaba in one of his budget statements. When broken to periodical payments, the government hopes to slash the big budget. Although the bill is supposed to minimize the financial burden of medical negligence claims facing the state, it has been criticised saying that the costs will push in the long run.

The Medical Malpractice Association wrote to Madipoane Mothapo, the chairperson of Justice and Correctional services committee. They argued that the time period given for public participation was not enough. The members of the public were given 10 working days to submit their comments and only 5 days to prepare for oral submissions, the association said in the letter to Mothapo.

They added that the time frame given to the public to submit their comments on the Bill was quite inadequate, considering that there was a lot of complexity and seriousness presented by the Bill. Very few MPs were present on October 31st, the time that the community heard oral submissions on the Bill.’’

They, therefore, argued that the absenteeism of members of the committee during the events of public hearings significantly impacts the process credibility. In response, Mothapo said that the committee had agreed that the time frame of public participation had been short. And had, therefore, agreed to the extension to November 16.

Madipoane Mothapo added that the sparsely attended committees were not unusual since the MPs had to factor the demands of different committees occurring at the same time. She said that the MPs were overworked since some of them had to sit more than 3 committees.