Medical Negligence in the Wake of the National Health Insurance (NHI)
Medical Negligence can be defined as a negative consequence of a medical treatment that could have been avoided by the medical practitioner. This includes mistakes such as surgical instruments being left in a patient after surgery, incorrect medicine administration leading to severe injury, surgical removal of the wrong body part, misdiagnosis of a condition such as breast cancer and the removal of the patient’s breast as a result of the misdiagnosis, and any other medical scenarios in which injury or even death could have been prevented.
Know your Patient Rights
Another way in which South Africans can spot medical negligence is by understanding their patient rights, such as the right to:
- Have your right to dignity respected
- Be informed by the healthcare provider about the risks of a particular course of treatment
- Be informed by the healthcare provider about alternative treatments available
- Have your right to privacy respected and thus the right to doctor-patient confidentiality
- To receive medical care according to a reasonable standard
- Seek a second opinion
- To refuse or to accept a treatment
A violation of any of these rights is also considered medical negligence. The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) Patients’ Rights Charter can be read here.
Understanding the National Health Insurance (NHI)
The need for good quality healthcare to all has given birth to the National Health Insurance (NHI). Proposed by the Health Department in 2009, the NHI is a financing system that will ensure that all citizens of South Africa are provided with essential healthcare regardless of their socio-economic status, and their ability to pay for decent healthcare. This means that quality healthcare will be received by both the poor and the people who can afford proper medical care.
Furthermore, the NHI promotes integration between the public and private sector. With the purpose of the National Health Insurance being to provide Universal Healthcare (UHC) to all citizens of South Africa, the framework will allow for people to get access to private healthcare regardless of their ability to pay for it. This is so all resources (both public and private) are effectively used to better the overall health of South Africans.
All in all, this eliminates the notion that good quality medical services are only for those who can afford it.
Learn more about our Medical Negligence Legal Services
If you think you have a medical negligence claim against a healthcare provider or medical facility, contact our offices for a free 1-hour consultation to review your case. Malcolm Lyons and Brivik work on a no win, no fee basis for medical negligence claims.
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