Deadline not met for transfer of Esidimeni patients

Jack Bloom (Image by

The 45-day deadline by the Health Ombudsman looms today for moving more than 700 patients from unlawful NGOs to facilities where they will receive proper care and treatment.

In his report, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba recommended as follows:

“All patients from Life Esidimeni currently placed in unlawful NGOs must be urgently removed and placed in appropriate Health Establishments within the province where competencies to take care of their specialized needs are constantly available, this must be done within 45 days to reduce risk and save life; simultaneously, a full assessment and costing must be undertaken.”

According to a statement last week by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa, only 63 patients had been moved from two NGOs.

The main alternatives for the patients are the Selby Park Clinic and re-opened Life Esidimeni facilities.

It seems that 20 unlicensed NGOs are still looking after hundreds of patients.

Life Esidimeni has indicated that it would take a number of weeks for them to safely accommodate a large number of the patients.

Ramokgopa has said that R495 per day is being paid for each patient at the private facilities, which amounts to about R15 000 per patient per month.

This is considerably higher than the R320 per day that was paid previously to Life Esidimeni, which amounted to R9920 per month for each patient.

It highlights once again the folly of former Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in cancelling the previous contract with Esidimeni after a study by the Health Advance Institute in May 2015 found that this was good value for money.

I appreciate the care that is now being taken to involve relatives in the transfer to new facilities, but I am concerned that so many patients remain in unlicensed NGOs.

At least two more patients at these NGOs have died since the release of the Ombud’s report on 1 February.

We need more transparency about the reasons for the delay and a timetable for the transfers to be concluded as soon as possible.

Issued by DA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, Jack Bloom MPL

Jack Bloom MPL

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