Unusual to transfer patients outside of Esidimeni with medical file, court told

Former Life Esidimeni nursing manager, Zanele Buthelezi, said that while the file belonged to the patient, the copyright belonged to the company.

FILE: Life Esidimeni Waverley Care Centre Hospital in Boksburg. Picture: Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Former Life Esidimeni nursing manager, Zanele Buthelezi, has told the Pretoria High Court that it was never common practice to transfer patients outside of Esidimeni with their whole medical file.

Buthelezi is testifying at the inquest into the deaths of 144 psychiatric patients who were moved to NGOs by the Department of Health in 2016.

She said that while the file belonged to the patient, the copyright belonged to the company.

"It was never a practice that we transfer the mental healthcare user to an NGO or to a provincial hospital with their own file. But when the mental healthcare user is transferred internally because the documents belong to the company, it's the same documents that we'll transfer the mental healthcare user with the whole file."

Buthelezi has described the contents of the comprehensive summary report for external transfers as having detailed the in-patients’ mental and physical state before and during admission, as well as any recent information.

WATCH: Life Esidimeni inquest

Download the Eyewitness News app to your iOS or Android device.