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MEC Ramokgopa urges healthcare workers to put patients first

She's also used her opening remarks, at a Health Summit her department is hosting, to reflect on the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa addressing people at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital. Picture: Masego Rahlaga/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa has warned the province's healthcare workers against taking decisions that are not in the interests of their patients.

She's also used her opening remarks, at a Health Summit her department is hosting at the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, to reflect on the Life Esidimeni tragedy.

At least 144 mentally ill patients died after Gauteng Health Department terminated its contract with the Esidimeni group in 2016.

MEC Ramokgopa told dozens of health workers never to forget the Esidimeni tragedy and to use what happened there as a reminder to always take the correct steps, for the benefit of the patients they serve.

“We who are in the maternal and child care, if we don’t review and take the lessons there is a risk that some of the mistakes will be committed again.”

Ramokgopa says it was embarrassing to watch the testimony of former senior health officials at the Esidimeni arbitration hearings who failed to explain their decisions.

“Our approach of saving money must always put the interest of the patients first.”

She says any future tragedy of this magnitude should be avoided at all costs and the only way to do so is to make sure that health workers strive to provide better quality patient care.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)