DA expresses concern over report on Gauteng patient deaths

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16 August 2016 -The impact of the Gauteng government's new mental health strategy, has been disastrous for some families. It means some mentally ill patients, who were housed in specialised centres, are now in the care of their families.

JOHANNESBURG – The Democratic Alliance in Gauteng on Sunday expressed concern at a report that as many as 80 psychiatric patients may have died in Gauteng last year after the Gauteng health department cancelled its contract with Life Healthcare Esidimeni which was caring for about 2000 patients.

READ: Deaths of psychiatric patients at high level, says Premier Makhura

“This is way higher than the 39 deaths that have previously been reported,” DA Gauteng MPL Jack Bloom said.

“It is unfortunate that the Health Ombudsman’s report has been delayed because Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu asked for further time to respond to it. According to reported leaks about his findings, he calls for Mahlangu and two senior department officials to take responsibility for the deaths,” Bloom said.

He hoped that Mahlangu met her deadline to respond to the report by Tuesday this week and that the full report was made public shortly thereafter.

“Her day of reckoning is coming closer, as she should have resigned or been fired after the first disclosure of the deaths in September last year after I asked a question about this in the Gauteng legislature. There needs to be accountability and relatives of the deceased patients deserve to know the truth as soon as possible,” Bloom said.