KZN mental healthcare in serious mess

2016-06-21 06:00

NONE ofthe four Mental Health Review Boards in the provinceisare function.

The boards are meant to assess and review applications for mental healthcare users who are admitted into mental healthcare institutions in the province. A board member, who asked not to be named, said “thousands” of mental healthcare patients were being “illegally detained” in the province.

“The department is not complying with the requirements of the Mental Health Care Act, 2002. In terms of the Act, the MEC is responsible for appointing review boards for the province.

“Currently the province does not have a single legally constituted Mental Health Review Board.

“The effect is that patients that are admitted into mental healthcare institutions are admitted without the applications being reviewed as per the requirements of the Act, thus rendering all such admissions illegal,” said the board member.

Department of Health spokesperson Sam Mkhwanazi said the appointments of members board members in the provincthere had been some haveexperienced some internal administrative delays” in appointing new board members. “The department is attending to them. The department has ensured that it continues to provide the service to healthcare users, including clinical care,” he said.

The boards have not been functioningfunctioned since January this year. Each board must include at least one mental healthcare practitioner for it to function.

Department of Health provincial head of department of health Sifiso Mtshali having approved thea request for Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo to appoint new board members in February this year, but no new appointments have been confirmed yet.

The Fever’s sister publication the Weekend Witness has established that in Umngungundlovu there is only one member who has been duly appointed. The contract of the previous board member who is set to retained, has not been renewed after it expired on December 31.

Three names that have been recommended to fill up positions left by previous board members have not been approved as yet.

Although eThekwini has three board members, at the moment, they cannotboard can not function because none of them three board members is a mental healthcare practitioner.

Two new names have been recommended, but has not been approved.

In Uthungulu and Amajuba there are no duly appointed members. In Uthungulu, contracts of two board memberswho are set to be retained, have not been renewed since their expiry on December 31.

Three new names have also been recommended, but none have been have not been appointedyet.

In Amajuba, contracts of two board members who are set to be retained have not been renewed and two new names that have been recommended have not been approved yet.

The other requirement in terms of the Act is that mental healthcare institutions submit periodical reports every 12 months to the review boards, so that an assessment can be done as to whether the patients still require to be detained within the mental institutions or to be discharged to their families.

“Currently this is not done as there are no functioning review boards within the province. The effect of this is that thousands of patients are being detained in the mental institutions without any submissions being made to the review boards to justify their continued detention within these institutions,” said the board member.

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