Stop the Health MEC putting mental health patients in danger

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Stop the Health MEC putting mental health patients in danger
Stop the Health MEC putting mental health patients in danger
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*UPDATE* 37 patients have died following their relocation from Life Esidimeni. Right now, we need to urgently call the Gauteng Department of Health to account.

Breaking news: an urgent court application was submitted to stop the Gauteng Department of Health from continuing with the forced discharges of patients of mental illnesses. The Health MEC broke her promise, and already 54 adult patients with chronic mental illnesses were released into a child care facility [1].

This is a critical moment to keep up public pressure on the Health MEC. Can you sign the petition calling on her to draw up a plan that guarantees patient's treatment is not disrupted and their safety not jeopardised?

Patients like Sizwe, have been receiving 24hours care at Life Esidimeni for over 13 years. His family is concerned that his health will worsen if he is just released without a guarantee of continuing quality care that he has been receiving whilst at Esidimeni. If MEC Mahlangu respects the rights and dignity of mental health patients, then she will stop these forced discharges and immediately release a clear plan that ensures continuity of care for patients.

It was pressure from the family members of patients and the public, which forced Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu to promise to postpone the closure of Life Esidimeni to June 2016. But when the media attention moved on, the MEC and her department have been quietly forcing patients out of care, and putting their lives in danger. You can help put pressure on MEC Mahlangu to stop putting the lives of patients in danger. Please join the campaign.




Dear Gauteng Health MEC Mahlangu and Premier David Makhura,

In light of the deaths of patients, we call on you to immediately act and ensure facilities can ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of patients. Previously we thanked you for hearing the voices of patients and family members by extending the contract with Life Esidimeni, so no patient is forcibly discharged. It’s clear your department failed to consult with patients and family members, and stand accused of having already forcibly released mental health patients who are chronically ill. We call for an independent investigation into allegations that patients have already been forcibly discharged. In the meantime, we call on you to fulfil your responsibility to protect the rights, dignity and health of patients, by conducting proper consultation with patients, family members and experts. From which a clear, transparent and public plan to ensure the wellbeing and safety of patients must be guaranteed.

We stand in solidarity with the families of the patients, whose loved ones now face having their treatment and care compromised by being forced to other unfamiliar facilities, or being released back to their families, who may not have the resources, or expertise to support them with their mental illness.


[1] Gauteng health department accused of shirking mental healthcare rights, Greg Nicolson for the Daily Maverick 14 March 2016. 


Will you sign?

We cannot wait for another patient to die. Right now, we need to ensure the safety of the patients by asking the Health Department to vet the NGOs the patients are moved to.