The government’s latest proposals for containing the growing financial burden posed by medical negligence claims against the state are ill-conceived, unconstitutional, and are unlikely to save money in the long-term, parliament heard on Wednesday. Public interest groups, the legal community and Western Cape government officials were strikingly united in their criticism of the State Liability Amendment Bill, which proposes scrapping lump-sum settlements for successful medical negligence claims of more than R1m and replacing them with periodic payments. The bill, which was gazetted for public comment in June, also proposes that claimants be limited to receiving future healthcare services in the public sector at facilities that meet the standards set by the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC), despite the fact that only a handful of facilities do so. If state services are not available, claimants will be able to use private-healthcare services, but they will have to foot the p...

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