Psych pa­tients’ trans­fer ‘flawed’

Cape Argus - - NEWS -

THURSDAY OC­TO­BER 12 2017 THE ARBITRATION hear­ing into the Life Esidi­meni tragedy has heard how the health depart­ment had no proper plan and not enough re­sources to en­sure the safety and wel­fare of psy­chi­atric pa­tients dur­ing the re­lo­ca­tion.

Fur­ther­more the pa­tients’ sit­u­a­tion was wors­ened when the non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions (NGOs) to which they were trans­ferred to did not re­ceive grants from the state.

The Gaut­eng health depart­ment’s chief di­rec­tor of plan­ning Levy Mosenogi, who was in charge of the Esidi­meni project, could not sup­ply an­swers to ques­tions posed to him by Le­gal Aid’s ad­vo­cate, Lilla Crouse, or chair­man of the hear­ing, re­tired Jus­tice Dik­gang Moseneke.

“Five hun­dred of them had no IDs, and none­the­less the con­tract was ter­mi­nated and peo­ple were moved. Why did this hap­pen? Why did you not pre­vent that from hap­pen­ing?” Moseneke asked.

Crouse lamented the lack of a valid ser­vice agree­ment be­tween the depart­ment and the NGOs.

“If you move peo­ple with­out a ser­vice agree­ment, chances are that pa­tients will suf­fer be­cause of lack of funds. So in send­ing pa­tients with­out an agree­ment, that would be ir­re­spon­si­ble. Do you agree with me?” she asked Mosenogi.

“Yes, mis­takes crept Mosenogi replied.

He said as a leader of the project, he should have checked to make sure ev­ery­thing was ar­ranged.

“Jus­tice, this was a com­plex process… some­times when you look back, one can say that things should have been done dif­fer­ently.”

Health Om­buds­man Male­ga­puru Mak­goba’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the pa­tients’ deaths found that in­ad­e­quate ve­hi­cles, such as open bakkies, had been used to trans­fer pa­tients from Esidi­meni.

Some of the chronic pa­tients were tied to the ve­hi­cles dur­ing the trans­porta­tion.

Moseneke asked Mosenogi if he man­aged to find out the com­mon cause of the deaths.

“Some had di­a­betes, high blood pres­sure and other chronic dis­eases,” said Mosenogi.

Crouse asked Mosenogi if there had been any dis­ci­plinary pro­cesses against him, to which he replied, no.

The arbitration hear­ing con­tin­ues. – ANA in,”

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