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Gauteng health slams Sadag for spreading false info

Sadag warned that more than 2,000 mentally ill patients will lose hospital beds when the facility closes.

The Johannesburg offices of the South African Depression and Anxiety Group take on average 400 calls a day. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Gauteng Health Department has lashed out at the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) accusing it of spreading false information and fear.

Sadag has warned that more than 2,000 mentally ill patients will lose hospital beds when the facility closes down next march.

But MEC Qedani Mahlangu said they have decided to terminate government's contract with the life Esidimeni Group, as it is becoming too expensive after subsidising patients at various facilities since 1979.

Sadag said many of the patients at the life Esidimeni Group's facilities for mentally ill people are schizophrenic and cannot take care of themselves or afford private treatment.

However, Mahlangu said where possible, patients who're responding positively to their treatment, will go home.

"Every single year without doubt there's someone who will come and say, 'we want an increase in tariffs', and you know we live under difficult times in during the fiscal."

She said other patients will be transferred to NGO's, which government will continue to subsidise only at a more cost effective fee.

Meanwhile, Maron Conway said her schizophrenic mother doesn't respond to treatment and needs special care in a facility.

"I spoke to a psychiatrist and said to me your mother is definitely not adequate to go home. She sees her grandchildren standing at the gate crying."

Conway said a Johannesburg NGO that she approached this week is refusing to take her mother in as she's not responding to treatment and she's too old.

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