“The reasons for such an increase in the number of claims are numerous and include – an increased awareness of rights by patients, a world wide trend, better litigations, a legal profession that is actively touting patients in hospital wards and a concerning culture of unprofessional conduct that seems to be on the rise,” the department said in a statement.
The department was concerned by the increasing number of pay outs, and would investigate together with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
“Given that these happen while people are performing their duties, the employer is one to respond. There are various interventions that are in place in all our facilities,” the department said.
The cases took a period of more than a year, and it was difficult to determine how much the department has paid until court judgments were available.
“The department waits for the matters to be put on the court’s roll and for all the necessary processes to be followed before it is informed if or how much should be paid out.”