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Esidimeni: Nurses told to discharge patients, panel hears

Dikeledi Manaka claims she and other nurses discharged patients, something that doctors should do.

Nursing manager Dikeledi Manaka at the Esidimeni arbitration hearing in Johannesburg. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The deputy nursing manager from one of the facilities where Life Esidimeni patients died has claimed senior officials at the Gauteng Health Department ordered them to sign discharge forms when they weren’t authorised to.

Dikeledi Manaka, who works at the Cullinan Care and Rehab Centre, started her testimony at the arbitration hearings in Parktown on Tuesday.

At least 143 patients died after the provincial Health Department terminated its contract with the Life Esidimeni group and transferred them to unlicensed NGOs.

Manaka claims she and other nurses discharged patients, something that doctors should do.

Retired deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke, who is leading the arbitration process into the Esidimeni tragedy, questioned Manaka.

“May a nurse discharge a patient?”

Manaka replied: “The patients were being assessed by nurses. The discharge was determined by how the patients were by the nurses.”

Moseneke then asked Manaka to confirm that the patients were discharged by nurses.

She said in most cases they had no choice because the Gauteng Health Department forced them.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)