Review SA's mental healthcare system, says psychiatric body

The South African Society of Psychiatrists (Sasop) has proposed that mental health care system in Gauteng and other provinces be reviewed and overhauled.

This comes after the Health Ombudsman report on the deaths of at least 94 mentally ill patients who were moved from Life Esidemeni Centre by the provincial health department.

Sasop says the current situation is a direct result of accumulating years of neglect, delay and failure to prioritise mental health care services in Gauteng as well as in other provinces.

Sasop President Prof Bernard Janse van Rensburg says they had raised red flags about the transfer of patients to the health department before.

Rensburg explains that all provinces experiencing a resource shortage should go under the microscope.

It is time to review the resources and do a proper assessment of what is required - not only in Guateng. One could say it could be country-wide challenge.

Prof Bernard Janse van Rensburg, Sasop President

He says mental health hasn't been prioritised enough in the health care system, with a great deal of pressure placed on NGOs.

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