Connect with us


Gauteng Health in overdrive to clear forensic backlogs



With thousands of cases dating back to 2007, the province tackles toxicology and histology backlogs, promising swift action.

With more than 17 000 toxicology and more than 7 000 histology cases backlogged as far back as 2007, the Gauteng Department of Health (GDoH) says the reduction of the backlogs remains a priority.

The GDoH said it is committed to putting measures in place to fast-track addressing toxicology and histology case backlogs within the Gauteng Forensic Pathology Service.

“We are fully aware of the impact the backlogs have on the families of the deceased, who are seeking closure and facing material trauma due to long delays in finalising estates,” said the acting Chief Executive Officer of the Gauteng Forensic Pathology Service, Thembalethu Mpahlaza.

We also understand that insurance claims are being affected; we are fast-tracking interventions to resolve this issue.”

Backlog dating as far back as 2007

This is as the province is tackling cases, some dating back to 2007.

ALSO READ: Steve Biko Hospital nurses suspended after patient dies

Toxicology reports measure the amount of substances in a deceased person’s blood, urine, or other bodily fluids to determine the type and approximate amount of drugs — both legal and illegal — that were present in their body.

Meanwhile, histopathology uses a microscope to examine tissues and/or cells to diagnose and investigate disorders of the tissues.

The department said the backlogs were caused by a number of factors, such as the rise in cases of unexpected deaths, the emergence of foreign drugs that are difficult to trace, the suspicion of poisoning among family members in the event of an unexpected death, the lack of medical histories for some deceased individuals (which results in time-consuming multiple tests on a single body), and the scarcity of private laboratories willing to perform state toxicology tests and testify as expert witnesses in court.

Lasting solutions

According to the GDoH, to increase the current capacity to process cases, it will keep enlisting outside private partners through public-private partnerships.

In addition, the Department has launched an effort to hire more specialised toxicologists to increase the capabilities of the current staff and improve case processing speed.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘They took my whole leg instead of one toe’ – Inside Charlotte Maxeke hospital horror

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *