Health department appeals to mental health patients’ families to contact them

By Drum Digital
09 March 2017

The Gauteng Department of Health is trying to contact the families of psychiatric patients who have been moved out of unlicensed NGO’s

to established hospitals and clinics, but have been hampered in their work by inaccurate information such as phone numbers and addresses that have been changed.

This week alone only 16 families of psychiatric patients who were moved from two unlicensed NGO’s to the Clinix Selby Hospital in Johannesburg could be reached even though 27 where contacted.

“Our main problem is that family members are unreachable. Calls are not going through and addresses have been changed,” says Gauteng MEC of Health, Gwen Ramokgopa.

The Department is trying to clean up its act after the tragic deaths of 94 psychiatric patients who were transferred from Esidimeni Life Hospital to 27 unlicensed NGO’s last year.

Ramokgopa says it’s not unusual in healthcare that families cannot be traced, but that social workers, the police and the Department of Home Affairs are available for assistance.

“Patients are the responsibility of the State and they are looked after in a manner that is humane.”

The Gauteng Department of Health has set up the following phone numbers which affected families can use to contact them:

WhatsApp:         082 809 0131

Toll-free:             0800 11 1 117

Landline:             011 564 2215/2235

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