road accident fund medical tariffs

The good news is that – at least for now – the courts have put a hold on the introduction of Road Accident Fund medical tariffs.

In this article, we give you a 2023 update of what’s happening.

Road Accident Fund’s introduction of detailed medical tariffs

In August 2022, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and the Road Accident Fund (RAF) promulgated new, reduced medical tariffs for medical professionals in the private sector.

The tariffs, which were promulgated in a 400-page document, are so low that a spokesman for the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) says there would be disastrous consequences for road accident victims in need of emergency or specialised care.

Negative impact of the proposed tariffs on accident victims

Therina Wentzel, national director of the NCPD, said the low tariffs would mean road accident victims without medical aids would not be able to get care at private healthcare facilities.

This is because very few doctors in the private sector would treat a patient at the new prescribed rates. Practitioners and service providers, like private ambulance companies, are unwilling to assist at the given tariffs, which are grossly below industry rates.

Those who can’t afford private medical treatment would have to turn to state facilities. The public sector is already overburdened and would not, in most cases, be able to render the emergency or long-term care many of these victims need.

“In many cases these patients will not get the care they need in the public sector either, as it often cannot provide the immediate or long-term care needed by many accident victims, especially those rendered paraplegic or quadriplegic,” said Therina Wentzel in an affidavit filed at the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in a bid to halt the implementation of the tariffs.

Before the promulgation of the new medical tariffs, there were many private hospitals and healthcare practitioners who were willing to treat road accidents victims in the knowledge that they would eventually be paid in full.

Challenges against the RAF’s proposed medical tariffs

In November 2022, the National Council for Persons with Disabilities and the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) launched an urgent application with the Gauteng High Court to stop the implementation of these new tariffs.

In an affidavit, the LSSA said the tariffs are patently unlawful and unconstitutional. This is because the road accident victims without medical aid or private means would no longer be able to obtain the care they need in the private sector.

Given that the public sector could not provide this care – or not with sufficient quality or urgency – the result of the new tariffs would mean death or disability to many thousands of South African road accident victims.

This rendered the new tariffs “irrational”, “unreasonable” and “an unjustified limitation of the rights of access to healthcare and bodily integrity”.

The Law Society also stated that the tariffs, which were due to be implemented retrospectively to January 2022, were also unlawful because they’d been promulgated without complying with various stipulated and compulsory procedures.

December 2022 ruling: RAF medical tariffs on hold

In December at the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, Judge Ronel Tolmay suspended the implementation of the RAF medical tariffs retrospectively to January 2022.

Her order will stay in place pending the outcome of a further application in May 2023, in which the court would be asked to review and set aside the tariffs.

Judge Tolmay also awarded a punitive costs order against the RAF and ordered it to pay the applicants’ costs of the urgent application. This was because of the “contemptuous” manner in which the RAF conducted its opposition to the application.


How DSC Attorneys can help

At DSC Attorneys, we specialise in Road Accident Fund claims. If you would like to know more about Road Accident Fund medical tariffs and how they could affect a claim, please get in touch.

Our personal injury attorneys and medico-legal team are committed to help road accident victims in our country get the compensation they deserve, as quickly as possible.

We work on a no win, no fee basis. Contact us online or call 0861 465 879 for legal support and representation that’s effective, ethical and caring.

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