Speaking on CapeTalk, Dr Nilesh Patel, Chief Operating Executive at Healthcare Services, explained that the two main reasons for moving the former Esidimeni patients were affordability and to de-institutionalise patients.
These were according to the recommendations by the World Health Organisation which South Africa adopted, he explained.
The international norm these days is to treat persons with chronic mental problems as close the community as possible. That was part of the department's 2020 plan, which was launched in 2013.— Dr Nilesh Patel, Chief Operating Executive at Healthcare Services
Devastatingly, many patients were sent to unregistered and unsuitable NGOs, which resulted in the death of 94 patients, who all died as a result of neglect.
One needs to have a structured routine environment and the staff need to have a high index of suspicion for change of behavior in psychiatric patients, who need to be prompted for mealtimes, routine and in order to be hydrated.— Dr Nilesh Patel, Chief Operating Executive at Healthcare Services
Patel says Life Esidimeni is willing to continue to work with government and all stakeholders to ensure that these vulnerable members of society are cared for in the most dignified and humane manner.
Take a listen to interview with Dr Nilesh Patel from Healthcare Services: