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DA warns of another Esidimeni

By Bafana Nzimande | 2017-08-19 08:58:31.0

More than 50 psychiatric patients who were moved from Life Esidimeni live in terrible conditions that could lead to another tragedy.

This is according to DA Gauteng shadow health MEC Jack Bloom, who has accused the provincial health department of compromising the safety of mentally ill patients.

Bloom said Life Esidimeni patients who were allocated to Weskoppies Hospital in Tshwane were living in compromised infrastructure that posed a danger to their lives.

Malfunctioning sewer and water pipes, a shortage of beds and unfinished renovations were some of the issues of concern at Weskoppies.

"I was horrified to discover that in Weskoppies there are more than 50 Esidimeni patients that have been put in four wards which are in poor condition," said Bloom yesterday.

"These wards are crumbling. They are falling apart. Patients must be moved to better facilities as soon as possible."

More than 100 patients died last year after being moved from Life Esidimeni to NGOs that were not qualified to provide healthcare.

Qedani Mahlangu resigned as Gauteng health MEC after the findings of the Health Ombudsman were critical of senior health officials for bad planning.

Bloom claimed some hospitals don't have dedicated psychiatric wards and the province has a shortage of 2700 beds that has resulted in psychiatric patients being admitted to ordinary wards.

"The Gauteng health department must urgently fix this situation. "They must approach the National Treasury with proper plans and get competent contractors to avoid another Esidimeni incident."

Gauteng health department spokesman Prince Hamnca said the department would send a team to assess the situation at Weskoppies, adding that the hospital was planning to add 300 more beds.

He added that construction at the hospital would commence next year. Additional reporting by Pertunia Mafokwane.

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