Section 27: GP Health was warned about Esidimeni patients
Thirty-six patients died earlier this year after the department decided to move them to other facilities.
JOHANNESBURG - Rights group, Section 27 says the Gauteng health department was repeatedly warned about moving the 36 mental health patients who died after being moved from the Life Esidimeni hospital.
The patients died earlier this year after the department decided to move them to other facilities.
The hospital says all the patients'information was given to the department so it could identify and confirm suitable facilities for them.
At the same time, Premier David Makhura has supported the decision to have the health ombudsman investigate the deaths.
Section 27, representing the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, the South African Society of Psychiatrists and the Association of Concerned Loved Ones of Esidimeni tried to interdict the health department from discharging patients last December.
In a statement it says the department cannot claim to be surprised by the deaths of the 36 patients, saying the number could be higher because some were moved back to their homes and other health facilities where more people are said to have died.
The group says the department chose to ignore warnings and advice provided to it from stakeholders and some family members when it moved the patients between March and June this year.
Yesterday, Makhura said he is concerned about the increasing mortality rate of mental health patients at medical facilities including at the Life Esidimeni hospital.