Official reveals lack of budget for psychiatric care
● 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”.