Limpopo Health MEC Dr. Phophi Ramathuba says the province is looking at improving clinical services as one of the main strategies of tackling medico legal claims.
Ramathuba said this when she briefed the Portfolio Committee on Health on the state of the health system in Limpopo on Thursday.
The province’s burden of medical lawsuits remains high. Between the 2014/ 15 financial year and the current financial year, medico legal claims have set the department back by R4.3 billion.
Ramathuba said the most effective way of reducing the number of claims is to offer quality healthcare.
“… If we can save lives, we will not have so many claims. We [must] deal with the attitude of our staff… and make sure that everybody sees health as an emergency. When somebody is sick, and [it is] treated as an emergency, we will be able to reduce the claims,” she said.
Plans to turnaround healthcare in the province
Ramathuba said challenges including human resources management, infrastructure and supply chain are among the issues that need to be addressed.
She said they had to be frank in acknowledging that the sector is facing serious challenges.
“There are issues of human resources where [there are complaints of staff attitudes]…This is also informed by the working conditions that the staff members find themselves in.
“However, what we can reassure the public is that… we have worked out a turnaround strategy…” Ramathuba said.
The province has 462 clinics, 28 community healthcare centres, 30 district hospitals, five regional hospitals, two tertiary hospitals and four specialist hospitals.
The provincial department told MPs during its presentation that the chronic underfunding of the province was suffocating hospital services. Some of the challenges include the shortage of specialty services in both nursing and clinical services, the shortage of equipment, high accruals in pharmaceutical services, failure to upgrade infrastructure and the depletion of goods and services.