Western Cape Health Minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, has introduced the very first Independent Health Complaints Committee in South Africa. The committee is the first of its kind as it is an independent entity that will consider complaints which emanate from the public health system in the province.
The body has been appointed in accordance with the Western Cape Independent Health Complaints Committee Act, No 2 of 2014, legislation which was passed to improve the way in which we deal with the feedback we receive from our clients.
“Despite the many challenges that the public health system faces, we remain committed to upholding high quality of care. To this end, I have today appointed a three member committee with a wide range of expertise who will consider complaints which have not been resolved through the normal channels we have in place. This committee will have various powers to investigate and resolve complaints which have been referred to them,” says Minister Mbombo.
“I am confident that they will promote accountability while forming an additional level of complaints resolution in our system.”
The creation of this statutory body, which has been written into provincial legislation, will ensure that the province has an independent adjudicatory entity whose sole purpose is to advocate for quality of care.
The function of the committee is to:
• Investigate and make recommendations on complaints referred to it by the Provincial Minister and/or the Head of Department ;
• Submit written reports to the Minister and the HOD on each complaint received, inclusive of details of the investigation, outcome and recommendations
This piece of legislation creates an additional process of complaints resolution which empowers aggrieved users of the health system, as it obligates the Minister and the HOD to provide feedback to complainants based on the recommendations of the committee.
The healthcare system is under severe pressure with over 75% of the population in the Western Cape dependent on it.
“This means my department needs to be meticulous in the way that we handle patient feedback through our systems. It also means we should be responsive to our clients when complaints are raised, more so when they have not been resolved through the normal channels. The IHCC will be an important role player in this regard,” said Mbombo.
They will be an additional measure of monitoring and evaluating the current systems.
The committee has deployed academic Prof Sinegugu Duma, psychologist Prof Francis Sonn and advocate and mediator Adv Gerrie de Kock to manage the complaints.
“These three members come with a wealth of knowledge in the field of public healthcare, law and academia. I am confident that this committee will assist us to uphold service standards and continuously improve patient experiences,” concluded Mbombo. VOC