Medical litigation: it’s pushing the country’s scarce gynaecologists out of work and threatening to bankrupt the national health system. Now, more than 90 people, myself included, have been trained to help. So why has it been so hard to?
Earlier this year, Bhekisisa revealed that dozens of gynaecologists were likely to leave the profession by the year’s end because of rising insurance prices that are largely fuelled by high rates of litigation. By March 2016, medicolegal claims lodged against the health department in the past five years amounted to more than R37-billion, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi told the news service in June.
The minister’s statement came just months after he resolved that all medicolegal disputes relating to state health facilities be referred for mediation. Last week, the South African Medico-Legal Association (Samla) announced that the Gauteng health department will go ahead with a proposal to launch a pilot project to investigate how it can make better use of mediation to save millions in litigation. This is energising news.
Since the minister’s declaration, dozens of people like me have been accredited as medical negligence mediators, but as yet few of us have been called on to do so.
We’re a mixed group and include people such as medical negligence and personal injury lawyers, academics, mediators, healthcare practitioners, administrators — and me, this health journalist-turned-development communications practitioner.
I was encouraged to respond to the Samla call for prospective mediators by friends in the field and got hooked because it’s immediate and effective.
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