Medical negligence claims against the state are rising at a “near exponential” rate, leaving provincial health departments with an R80.4bn headache that is putting services at risk, data obtained by Business Day reveals. SA’s nine provincial health departments saw their medico-legal contingent liabilities increase by 33% year-on-year in 2017-18, to reach a level almost triple that of the 2014-15 financial year. Should all the 2017-18 claims be successful, the cost would equal 41% of their total budgets of R196bn for the next year, according to the Treasury. “The provincial payouts are increasingly putting pressure on the budgets of provincial health departments, as funds have to be shifted away from service provision in order to pay the claims. What is particularly concerning is the rate at which the claims are increasing,” said Treasury. Business Day’s analysis of provincial health department annual reports for 2017-18 combined with the Treasury figures show medical negligence clai...

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