Motsoaledi: Govt policy doesn't allow for deinstitutionalisation of patients
Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi says it would also never make sense to do this anyway because some mentally ill patients have to be institutionalised depending on the severity of their illness.
JOHANNESBURG – Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi has told the Esidimeni arbitration hearing that government policy has never granted the deinstitutionalisation of psychiatric patients and therefore the Gauteng Health Department infringed upon the mental healthcare act when it embarked on the Life Esidimeni project.
Motsoaledi testified at the Life Esidimeni arbitration hearings in Parktown on Wednesday night.
He was asked questions about what he knew about the chaotic patient transfer project which resulted in at least 144 lives being lost.
Motsoaledi says he does not understand where the Gauteng Health Department got the term deinstitutionalisation when in fact it is not mentioned in policy or even in documents by the World Health Organisation.
Motsoaledi says it would also never make sense to do this anyway because some mentally ill patients have to be institutionalised depending on the severity of their illness.
“There has been this word called deinstitutionalisation, repeated all the times since this saga. Not all mental health care users can ever be deinstitutionalised.”
The health minister also explained that the department did not do what it had said it would do in its own plan, because taking patients to NGOs is still institutionalising them.
“When you remove a person from a treatment mental institution and put them in an NGO, that’s still institutionalisation.”
Motsoaledi has also called the project criminal.