It could have been handled better - Makhura on psychiatric patients' deaths

2016-12-06 16:03
David Makhura (File, Netwerk24)

David Makhura (File, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Tuesday assured the families of psychiatric patients, who had died while in the care of the provincial health system, that justice would prevail.

"I would like to assure the bereaved families that I will take all the necessary action to ensure justice prevails," he said in his 2016 political report, presented during the Gauteng legislature’s last sitting of the year.

"My view is that the de-institutionalisation of mental patients could have been handled better."

His comments come days after United Nations human rights experts expressed concern about the deaths of 37 psychiatric patients.

They were part of a group of about 2 000 patients who the Gauteng health department moved from the Life Esidimeni facilities to non-governmental organisations in June. The department terminated its contract with the hospital group to save money.

Opposition parties have called for Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu's head.

"I would like to state categorically that we regret any loss of life, because healthcare is about saving lives," said Makhura.

He promised to visit the affected families in coming weeks.

He would await the findings of an investigation by the health ombudsman so they could hold those responsible to account.

"Should it be found that government officials have acted improperly or negligently, I will act without fear, favour or prejudice."

Read more on:    david makhura  |  health

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