High level task team visits NGOs to prepare for the transfer of mental health patients
Roxanne Henderson | 2017-02-02 19:34:46.0
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A government task team has started its preparation for the relocation of mental health patients in Gauteng‚ currently being cared for by NGOs.
Director-General in the Office of the Premier Phindile Baleni and the national Health Department Director-General Precious Matsoso will lead the team.
The move is in line with national Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba’s recommendations to Premier David Makhura‚ following the investigation into the deaths of 94 mental health patients in Gauteng last year.
“Makhura has assured the families and the people of Gauteng that he will urgently implement the Health Ombudsman’s recommendations without any reservation or delay‚” the Gauteng provincial government said in a statement on Thursday.
Makgoba had lambasted the decision by the Gauteng health department which saw 1‚317 mentally ill and intellectually impaired patients rapidly moved from various Life Esidimeni care homes to 27 unlicensed NGOs where scores eventually died.
Most died at only five NGOs.
Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigned earlier this week.
Makgoba found that her decision to move patients was “reckless‚ unwise‚ flawed with inadequate planning”.
The task team have visited the NGOs to establish the number of patients that need to be relocated.
Representatives from families of the patients are also joining the task team to ensure families are properly consulted in the process.
The team must identify public health institutions able to accommodate the mental health patients.
Makura apologised to the families of the deceased patients in person and then again at his media conference on Wednesday.