The government has proposed a new “pay as you go” system for dealing with medical-negligence claims against the state, in a bill critics say could prejudice patients by limiting their choices and forcing them to seek care from the very facilities that harmed them in the first place.

The Public Liability Amendment Bill proposes scrapping lump-sum settlements for medical-negligence claims of more than R1m and replacing them with a structured schedule of payments.

Successful claimants will be limited to receiving future healthcare services in the public sector at facilities that meet the standards set by the Office of Health Standards Compliance (OHSC). If state services are not available, claimants will be able to use private-healthcare services, but will be liable for the portion of their bills that exceed public-sector rates…..more