This is the person to blame for mentally ill patients dying on government’s watch


This is the person to blame for mentally ill patients dying on government’s watch

TMG Digital | 2017-01-31 08:14:35.0

Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu. photo file.

Image by: Tsheko Kabasia

Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu placed patients in facilities that lacked basic competence. This is the finding of the national health ombudsman‚ Professor Malegapuru Makgoba.

The Sowetan newspaper on Tuesday reported it had seen a draft report of the ombud’s findings‚ ahead of the official briefing on Wednesday.

The ombud was tasked with investigating the deaths of 36 psychiatric and disabled patients in the care of NGOs contracted by the Gauteng Health Department. Families of patients had complained of poor care and suspicious deaths at some facilities. National Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi announced the inquiry.

The patients were placed in NGOs after the Gauteng Health Department ended its contract with Life Esidimeni Hospital‚ which was looking after about 1‚900 seriously ill mental patients.

Makgoba’s report‚ according to the Sowetan‚ found 71 patients had died since they were transferred last year. The department only accounted for 48. He noted: “The differing numbers are symptomatic … of an institution with poor data integrity and lack of reliable and quality information systems…”.

The facilities in which the patients had died‚ he said‚ “had neither the basic competence and experience‚ the leadership/managerial capacity‚ nor fitness for purpose and were often poorly resourced”.

On the MEC‚ the professor said: “The premier of the Gauteng province must‚ in light of the findings of this report‚ consider the suitability of MEC Qedani Dorothy Mahlangu to continue in her current role as MEC of Health”.

– Read the full reports in today’s Sowetan newspaper

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