Too many mentally ill patients dying – Makhura

2016-09-16 16:23
Virginia Machpelah, 50, was one of the 36 psychiatric patients who died after being transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni. (Supplied)

Virginia Machpelah, 50, was one of the 36 psychiatric patients who died after being transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg – Every year between May and August a large number of mentally ill patients die at government facilities in Gauteng, Premier David Makhura told journalists on Friday.

He was shocked to find this had been the trend for the past five years.

"We want to understand this so we can nip this in the bud."

Makhura said he did not have the exact figures of how many had died. He stressed that he and the health department agreed the matter had to be investigated.

"I am very concerned about this trend and I would like the health ombudsman to investigate why mentally ill patients have died in their numbers."

The deaths included patients at the Life Healthcare Esidimeni. Thirty-six patients died after they were moved to NGOs after the department cancelled its contract with the facility, in Johannesburg, to cut costs. It had looked after about 2 000 patients. They were moved to 122 NGOs.

"Every single patient who has died in the custody of the state is one death too many. We should be very concerned."

Makhura had instructed Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to visit all the mental health facilities in the province to ensure that patients were being adequately looked after.

"I got reassured that they will personally ensure the patients are in facilities that are appropriate to house human beings."

Read more on:    david makhura  |  johannesburg  |  healthcare

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