Psychiatric patients still at illegal NGOs - Gauteng govt

2017-02-07 11:27
Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, the new Gauteng MEC for health.

Dr Gwen Ramokgopa, the new Gauteng MEC for health.

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Johannesburg - None of the psychiatric patients admitted to 27 illegal NGOs have been moved, says Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe.

At least 94 psychiatric patients died in the province after being moved from Life Esidimeni facilities to the NGOs.

A task team will first visit the NGOs to determine how many patients they still have, Masebe said according to Netwerk24

The team is being headed by Phindile Baleni, the director general in the premier's office, and Precious Matsoso, the director general of health. It includes senior officials, psychiatric specialists, representatives of the patients' families and civic organisations. 

"They have to determine how many patients have to be moved before we take the next step," Masebe said, adding that should be possible to say how many patients were still at the NGOs by the end of the week. 

READ: Health dept in talks with Esidimeni families

45 days to find accommodation

In the meantime, Masebe said, the government was looking for alternative accommodation for these patients. He wouldn't say if any facilities had been identified yet.

He said a lot had to be done before the patients could be transferred and relatives had to be informed of the government's plans. 

"We are concerned about patients who are still at NGOs, but we can't make hasty decisions. We can't take a chance with the patients' lives." 

Masebe said that Health Ombudsman Malegapuru Makgoba had given the government 45 days in which to find new accommodation for the patients. 

Masebe said the national health department would have to decide if the illegal NGOs had to be closed down. 

Priority would be given to five NGOs Makgoba had identified as high risk institutions. 

The health department couldn't be reached for comment. 

Former deputy minister of health Gwen Ramokgopa, who has been appointed as Gauteng health MEC, was sworn in as a member of the Gauteng legislature on Monday. 

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  healthcare  |  mental health

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