Gauteng Health MEC should have been fired following deaths of psychiatric patients: DA

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Gauteng Health MEC should have been fired following deaths of psychiatric patients: DA

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\n Nomahlubi Jordaan | 2017-01-22 17:06:33.0\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 \n Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu. File photo \n \n \n \n
Image by: Tsheko Kabasia\n \n \n \n

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\n The Democratic Alliance (DA) says Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu should have been fired after the first disclosure of the deaths of psychiatric patients.\n

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The patients died after they were transferred to 122 NGOs after the department cancelled its long-running contract with Life Healthcare which looked after about 2‚000 patients.

“I am concerned by the report today that as many as 80 psychiatric patients may have died in Gauteng last year after the Gauteng Health Department cancelled its contract with Life Healthcare Esidimeni which was caring for about 2000 patients.

“This is way higher than the 39 deaths that have previously been reported,” said Jack Bloom‚ DA shadow health MEC in the Gauteng Legislature.

Bloom said it was unfortunate that the Health Ombudsman’s report had been delayed because Mahlangu has asked for more time to respond to it.

“According to reported leaks about his findings, he calls for Mahlangu and two senior department officials to take responsibility for the deaths.

“I hope that Mahlangu meets her deadline to respond to the report by Tuesday this week and that the full report is made public shortly thereafter.

“Her day of reckoning is coming closer as she should have resigned or been fired after the first disclosure of the deaths in September last year after I asked a question about this in the Gauteng Legislature.

“There needs to be accountability and relatives of the deceased patients deserve to know the truth as soon as possible,” Bloom added.

The health ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, had constituted a team of four independent psychiatric experts and one expert in public health to assist with the investigation.

The investigation would focus on quality management and care of the patients concerned‚ based on clinical records and any other information relevant to the matter.

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