Cape Town - Malpractice lawyers have turned their sights on the health care system after shake-ups at the Road Accident Fund shut down that lucrative revenue stream, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said
This has made doctors increasingly reluctant to specialise for fear of being targeted, he said during an interview on SAFM.
The lawyers take advantage of problems in the public service and also know that specialists have expensive indemnity insurance.
Private sector doctors are most at risk because they are targeted directly.
Number one on their lists are gynaecologists because of the vast potential for problems, followed by neurosurgeons because of the complexity of their procedures.
Specialists in the neonatal fields are a good cash cow for lawyers, especially those who focus on the first 28 days of life with babies who are working through the complications associated with HIV/Aids, or with babies who are born prematurely.
Orthopedic surgeons are also in their sights.
''The litigation is not something that is normal,'' he said.
Motsoaledi said it could cost up to R1m for a specialist to buy indemnity insurance and they are starting to feel that specialising is becoming too risky.
''You need half a million on the table before you start. Because you know, even before you start work, there is someone looking to make money out of you.''