Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
9 May 2017
6:15 am

Relocation of mental health patients on track, says Ramokgopa

Citizen Reporter

Gwen Ramokgopa, the Gauteng department of health MEC, said 91% of eligible patients have been relocated from nongovernmental organisations (NGOs).

Dr Gwen Malegwale Ramokgopa, Gauteng health MEC. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Gwen Ramokgopa, the Gauteng department of health MEC, says all mental health patients, except where there are disputes or misunderstandings, have been transferred to suitably licensed facilities.

In a media statement released on Sunday, Ramokgopa said 91% of eligible patients have been relocated from nongovernmental organisations (NGOs).

Ramokgopa said the first relocations began on March 3 and by April 26, 750 patients had been transferred to three different facilities. She said 390 have been placed at Clinix Selby Park, 232 at Baneng and 128 at Waverly Care Centre.

“Of these patients, 63 are not part of the Life Esidimeni cohort. It should be noted that some patients remain in NGOs due to various matters, such as families and patients refusing transfer and some owners of NGOs having taken legal action.

“We are doing our best to attend to these issues and we are hopeful they will be resolved in the best interests of patients,” said Ramokgopa, who added that 67 of those that were yet to be transferred were housed at nine different NGOs.

“With regards to mental patients currently housed in general and psychiatry hospitals, they will remain there until they are well enough to be transferred.

“Of these patients, 378 are in long-term stay beds and 50 are in acute care beds at state hospitals. “Since the release of the ombud’s report, five patients died from natural causes. We believe that one death is one too many.

“In spite of the fact that the causes of death were cited as natural, we have instructed that postmortems be conducted and we are awaiting the outcomes,” said Ramokgopa, adding that about 20 NGOs which used to house mental patients had been closed.

Ramokgopa said they tried at all times during this process to be transparent and professional to ensure patients’ health and well-being was not compromised.

“We have made huge inroads in addressing the recommendations of the health ombud. We have, since the release of the report, made progress in capacitating the mental health directorate in the department while refocusing the organisation,” she said.

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