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The Gauteng Health Department Says It's Trying To Help Esidimeni Victims' Families

Gauteng health said it assembled a team of mental health specialists, including psychiatrists and an occupational therapist, to respond to the health ombud's recommendations.

07/02/2017 07:33 SAST | Updated 07/02/2017 08:44 SAST
Ihsaan Haffejee/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Gauteng health department is holding talks with the families of the 94 Life Esidimeni patients who died after they were moved to unlicensed NGOs.

"The department has begun consultations with the families to arrive at whatever form of closure they will agree on," national health department spokesperson Joe Maila said in a statement on Monday.

Health ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba announced on Wednesday that at least 94 mentally-ill patients died of neglect in 27 unlicensed NGOs in 2016. The Gauteng health department had moved them there from its Life Esidimeni facilities to cut costs.

His recommendations included that Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi and Gauteng Premier David Makhura meet the families to facilitate a resolution.

The Gauteng provincial government said it had assembled a team of mental health specialists, including psychiatrists and an occupational therapist, to respond to Makgoba's recommendations.

The team would be co-chaired by the director general in the premier's office, Phindile Baleni, and national health DG Precious Matsoso.

News24