Parliament committee welcomes probe into deaths of psychiatric patients

2016-09-16 15:30

Cape Town – Parliament’s social services select committee has welcomed the investigation into the death of 36 psychiatric patients in Gauteng.

This comes after Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu revealed during an oral reply to questions in the legislature that 36 psychiatric patients, who had been transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni, had died while in the care of NGOs.

The psychiatric patients were relocated to 122 NGOs after the department cancelled its contract with Life Healthcare, which looked after almost 2 000 patients.

Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has called for the Office of the Health Ombud to investigate the allegations.

The committee conveyed its condolences to the families of the patients.

"While the Committee is cognisant of the need to find alternative measures to care for patients, these measures should have been made with the clear understanding and guarantees that the care of patients will not deteriorate. Every decision that is made must have as its central pillar the delivery of quality care for our people," committee chairperson Cathy Dlamini said in a statement.

The committee called for the investigation to be sped up, in order to avoid further loss of life.

They would engage with the health department at national and provincial levels to ensure quality care of all patients, the committee said.

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