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Dept extends deadline for relocation of psychiatric cases

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa says her department has extended the deadline for mental health patients to be transferred from NGOs to approved health care institutions.

FILE: Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa says her department has extended the deadline for mental health patients to be transferred from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to approved health care institutions.

Ramokgopa says experts have advised her that this may be in the interests of the patients, as a quick relocation may affect them.

The MEC briefed the media on the progress her department has made regarding the Health Ombudsman's recommendations in the Life Esidimeni case.

More than 100 mentally ill patients died after being moved to NGOs that did not offer proper care.

Ramokgopa says her department has been working closely with Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Gauteng Premier David Makhura and families of the patients in the transfer process.

“The Health Ombuds has agreed, based on the progress made and support that we’ve given to the NGOs that still house patients, to extend the 45-day deadline. The multidisciplinary team of experts involved in the process warned against moving patients too quickly.”

Some 592 patients have already been transferred to the Selby Park and Baneng Health Facilities, while 210 still remain at the NGOs.

The MEC says the department has extended the deadline of moving the rest of them to the end of the month.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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