Of­fi­cial re­veals lack of bud­get for psy­chi­atric care

The Times (South Africa) - - News - By NALEDI SHANGE

● It was im­pos­si­ble to say how much the state spent on care for psy­chi­atric pa­tients each year‚ be­cause there was no bud­get for this in the prov­inces‚ the Depart­ment of Health re­vealed yes­ter­day.

“Prov­inces do not have a men­tal health­care bud­get in one place‚” said Jeanette Hunter‚ the depart­ment’s deputy di­rec­tor-gen­eral of pri­mary health­care.

She was speak­ing to the SA Hu­man Rights Com­mis­sion‚ which is prob­ing the sta­tus of men­tal health­care fol­low­ing the deaths of 143 pa­tients af­ter they were moved from Gaut­eng Life Esidi­meni care fa­cil­i­ties.

Hunter said there were some “def­i­nite ar­eas of weak­ness” in the ad­min­is­tra­tion of care for the psy­chi­atric pa­tients.

Com­mis­sion chair­man Bongani Majola ques­tioned Hunter about the over­sight the depart­ment ex­er­cised over the prov­inces.

Hunter said they were thor­oughly com­mit­ted to their over­sight role‚ but at times “things did not work out as planned”.

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