Whistle­blower doc­tor won’t ap­peal re­port

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - News - Naledi Shange

Psy­chi­a­trist Dr Ki­ran Suk­eri‚ who the health om­bud ac­cused of mak­ing false claims of ill­treat­ment of pa­tients at the Tower Psy­chi­atric Hospi­tal in the East­ern Cape‚ has de­cided not to ap­peal the om­bud’s find­ings against him.

He had gone to the me­dia to blow the whis­tle on the fa­cil­ity where he was em­ployed as a psy­chi­a­trist.

He had de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as an­other Life Esidi­meni‚ com­par­ing it to the tragedy which played out in Gaut­eng where more than 140 men­tally ill pa­tients died after be­ing moved from the gov­ern­ment fa­cil­ity to some ill-equipped non-gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions.

After in­ves­ti­gat­ing Suk­eri’s claims‚ om­bud pro­fes­sor Male­ga­puru Mak­goba re­leased a re­port last month where he al­leged that Suk­eri had made the false claims fol­low­ing a power strug­gle with the hospi­tal’s CEO.

Mak­goba ques­tioned his pro­fes­sion­al­ism for re­leas­ing some cru­cial in­for­ma­tion on pa­tients to the me­dia and added that his track record was less than de­sir­able.

Suk­eri said he was happy that sev­eral changes had been made to the prov­ince’s men­tal health­care since his com­plaint.

Among Suk­eri’s claims were damn­ing al­le­ga­tions that about 90 pa­tients had died at the Port El­iz­a­beth hospi­tal but when his al­le­ga­tions were probed‚ he said he had mis­cal­cu­lated the death sta­tis­tics.

Com­ment­ing on Suk­eri’s al­le­ga­tions‚ which were pub­lished in a Sun­day news­pa­per‚ Mak­goba said: “Tower Hospi­tal is no ‘Life Esidi­meni’.”

Mak­goba said dur­ing his in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the claims‚ Suk­eri had ad­mit­ted that he had “lost his cool” and had ap­proached the me­dia to ex­ag­ger­ate his com­plaint after hav­ing clashed with the CEO of the hospi­tal.

Mak­goba has since called for dis­ci­plinary ac­tion to be taken against Suk­eri‚ adding that while he no longer prac­tises at the hospi­tal‚ he continues to run a pri­vate prac­tice.

“He has ir­re­triev­ably bro­ken all his trust with his col­leagues‚” Mak­goba added.

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