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Health MEC resigns as Life Esidimeni reported deaths rise to 94

1 February 2017 12:43 PM

Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba's report shows most patients died from hunger.

Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba says when MEC Qedani Mahlangu publicly announced 36 deaths of psychiatric patients from Life Healthcare Esidimeni Hospital in September, in fact, 77 patients had already died.

Gauteng Premier David Makhuru has announced that Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu resigned yesterday.

Mahlangu resigned just before the release of Health Ombudsman report that 94 psychiatric patients died after being transferred to other NGO facilities.

The Ombudsman announced this during the release of his report into the deaths of psychiatric patients who died during a transfer from Esidimeni to various NGOs.

Makgoba announced that a total number of 94 patients died, but this remains a provisional number and could be higher.

All 27 of these NGOs were not licensed to look after mentally ill patients. Some of them did not have correct license and some did not have a license at all.

Masego Rahlaga, EWN reporter

Makgoba has recommended that Premier David Makhuru should review Mahlangu's position and other health department top officials implicated.

He also said the department ignored patients and their families when they raised concerns about the transfers.

Activist and Section 27 founder, Mark Heywood, says this was highly preventable but the department went ahead with the decision ignoring all warnings.

Heywood says there needs to be an investigation into why the 1300 patients were moved in the first place.

The frightening thing that isn't admitted, care for mental people with mental illnesses in South is appalling but there is no budget and care but people are treated badly. So, we have got to look at access to mental healthcare services.

Mark Heywood, Section 27 founder

Listen to the audio below to hear Mark Heywood explaining how the department 'lied' before the court...

Take a listen to EWN reporter, Masego Rahlaga about the MEC's resignation following 94 reported deaths:

1 February 2017 12:43 PM