D-day for Mahlangu to reply to ombudsman report on psychiatric patient deaths

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D-day for Mahlangu to reply to ombudsman report on psychiatric patient deaths

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\n Neo Goba | 2017-01-24 11:07:28.0\n \n \n \n \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n \n\n \n\n\n \n \n

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\n \n \n Gauteng’s health MEC Qedani Mahlangu. Photo file.\n \n \n \n \n
Image by: Tsheko Kabasia\n \n \n \n

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\n Gauteng’s health MEC Qedani Mahlangu is on Tuesday expected to respond to the health ombudsman regarding the death of psychiatric patients who lost their lives after being transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni last year.\n

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The death of the psychiatric patients came after her department moved them into 122 NGOs after the it cancelled a long-running contract with Life Healthcare‚ which looked after about 2000 patients.

The total number of deaths ranges from the 36 quoted by Mahlangu in the legislature last year and up to 80 as suggested by the DA.

“The MEC will respond to the ombudsman in review of the report. We have been consistent and never announced any figure contrary to 36 deaths‚ [so] we are giving the ombudsman space to conclude his investigation and await his report accordingly‚” said Gauteng Department of Health spokesman Steve Mabona.

Asked if the department would compensate the relatives of the deceased and explain what led to their deaths‚ Mabona said: “We await the report to guide us.”

On Sunday‚ the DA in Gauteng on Sunday expressed concern at a report that as many as 80 psychiatric patients may have died in Gauteng as a result of the move.

“This is way higher than the 39 deaths that have previously been reported‚” said the party’s Jack Bloom.

“It is unfortunate that the health ombudsman’s report has been delayed because Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu asked for further time to respond to it.”

Bloom has called for Mahlangu and two senior department officials to take responsibility for the deaths.

A delay in the report’s release was prompted after Mahlangu pleaded with the Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba for an extension to study the Draft Interim Report into the Circumstances Surrounding the Deaths of Mentally ill Patients: Gauteng Province”‚ stating that she needed more time to study it.

The MEC has until close of business on Tuesday to report back to Makgoba.

– TMG Digital

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