Health Ombudsman: 94 patients from Life Esidimeni died
Gauteng's Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu had initially recorded that only 36 patients had died.
JOHANNESBURG - The Health Ombudsman’s report into the deaths of psychiatric patients trasnferred Life Healthcare Esidimeni has revealed that 94 patients died and not 36 as recorded by the Gauteng Health Department.
A report into the deaths is currently being released and has found that when Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu publicly announced 36 deaths in September, 77 patients had already died.
Mentally ill patients from the Life Esidimeni facility died between March and December last year.
Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba's report says patients died under unlawful circumstances.
Malegapuru has asked Gauteng Premier David Makhura to consider the suitability of Mahlangu in her role.
There’s widespread speculation around whether she will resign in the wake of the damning findings.
Last month, the Health Department said it was unaware of reports that 80 psychiatric patients died after being transferred from Esidimeni.
An investigation was launched following outrage from families who lost their loved ones after the decision to transfer them from the Gauteng facility.
Read the annexures from the Health Ombudsman's report:
The department says that according to their records, the number of patients who died during transfers still stands at least 36.
Spokesperson Steve Mabona said they have always been consistent about the number of deaths.
“We are not aware that the report has been released but one can really put the emphasis that, as the department, we are very consistent in the number that we revealed. We revealed the number 36.”
Read an explainer below, courtesy of Section27:
(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)