Catholic bishops demand deal for mental health victims


Catholic bishops demand deal for mental health victims

TMG Digital | 2017-02-03 19:04:32.0

Gauteng Premier David Makhura. File Photo


Catholic bishops want Gauteng Premier David Makhura to swiftly compensate families who lost loved ones in the Esidimeni health scandal.

The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference Justice and Peace Commission also called on the department of health on Friday to suspend the implementation of de-institutionalisation of mental healthcare.

“We make an appeal to the premier to ensure that the families who lost their loved ones in the Esidimeni tragedy are expeditiously compensated‚” said a statement issued by Bishop Abel Gabuza.

The bishops urged the premier and health department to “explore and commit themselves to an alternative dispute resolution process to expedite the processing of all legitimate legal claims instituted as a consequence of the Esidimeni tragedy”.

“Speedy resolution of claims is an important step towards the healing of the affected families. Efforts should therefore be made to avoid drawn-out court cases that would deepen the wounds of affected families.”

The bishops said that patients should not be moved to other facilities “until such a time that it has instituted strong policy measures that ensure protection of human rights during transitioning to community-based care.”

“It should also be based on the principle that protecting the lives of psychiatric patients‚ as one of the most vulnerable groups in our society‚ is more important than achieving budget efficiency.”

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