The Citizen (KZN)

Esidimeni gets more time

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The deadline for moving the remaining mentally ill patients from unsuitable NGOs has been extended to the end of the month.

“After representa­tions were made by the department, the health ombudsman extended the original 45-day deadline to the end of this month for the transfer of all former Esidimeni patients from unsuitable NGOs.

“At this stage, there are still about 300 to 400 patients at the NGOs,” said Jack Bloom yesterday.

Bloom, a Democratic Alliance MPL in Gauteng, said the delay was because of a lack of suitable alternativ­e facilities and also because of the need to do the transfers with proper care and in consultati­on with the families – unlike what happened previously, which led to almost 100 deaths.

Most of the patients will be accommodat­ed at the Selby Park Clinic and at reopened Life Esidimeni facilities, which will need to hire staff and make other arrangemen­ts.

“I hope that all the patients are indeed safely transferre­d by the end of the month, which is a deadline that should not be further extended,” said Bloom.

In February, health ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba released a report that said nearly 100 of the transferre­d patients had died from causes that included neglect and lack of adequate food.

The ombudsman found that all 27 NGOs that were looking after the mentally ill patients did not have the patients’ health records or requisite operating licence documents.

Close to 100 patients have since died at these centres.

Makgoba recommende­d disciplina­ry action be taken against the senior health officials who authorised the transfers. – ANA

The deadline should not be extended further than the end of this month. Jack Bloom Democratic Alliance MPL in Gauteng

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