Today, the 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.
The existence of this committee showcases the provincial government’s commitment to the provision of person-centred healthcare, one of the priorities Minister Mbombo undertook at the beginning of her term in office.
“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.”
“I am confident that they will promote accountability while forming an additional level of complaints resolution in our system” says Minister Mbombo.
The creation of this statutory body, which has been written into provincial legislation, will ensure that we have 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.
They will be an additional measure of monitoring and evaluating the current systems.
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.
The committee members are:
- Prof Sinegugu Duma – Nurse and Academic
- Prof Francis Sonn – Psychologist from the NGO Sector
- Adv Gerrie de Kock – Private practice Advocate, Mediator and Arbitrator.
I look forward to working with this newly appointed IHCC. The people of the Western Cape can rest assured knowing that their experience in our facilities is important to us.