Mediation of Medico-Legal litigation matters bears fruit – MEC Masuku

The mediation process which has been adopted by the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) to resolve medico-legal cases has started to bear fruit. And as such the Department has saved around R10 million last year when two cases were resolved through mediation instead of being taken to court.

Mediation entails a process whereby members of the public resolve medico-legal cases outside of the court process guided by mediators from the South African Medico Legal Association (SAMLA).

On Thursday, MEC for Health, Dr Bandile Masuku briefed the media on the benefits of mediation for both complainant and the Department.

“The mediation process has proven to be one of the most successful factors in reducing cases of medical negligence. It has cost-effective tools and can be implemented at any stage, during and/or before the litigation process. It is less acrimonious and helps to improve the patient experience in the health system,” said MEC Masuku.

The MEC also added that the process will reduce the Contingent Liability for the Department. The Mediation Policy and the Mediation Strategy which was approved by Gauteng Provincial Executive Council last year October has set a precedent in common law.

“On 18 December 2019 the GDoH won yet another case which has created common law and has marked the greatest success for the Department. This Judgment briefly created common law in that the Department can now offer future medical expenses in kind as opposed to monetary compensation,” explained MEC Masuku.

In implementing corrective measures, Dr Masuku said the Department was focusing mainly on three key areas namely: internal issues within institutions which have been identified as the causes of litigation, the re-visit of Consortium and Standard Operating Procedure at the State Attorney and addressing the challenges within the Head Office Legal Services.

Furthermore, the MEC stated that GDoH is indeed making strides through the smart and strategic partnership with the stakeholders who yielded positive result using mediation process.

Between October last year and this year February the Department has mediated 13 matters,” concluded MEC Masuku.

Source: Gauteng Province