While almost all the previous Life Esidimeni psychiatric patients have been transferred from the NGOs in Gauteng back into hospitals, a group of doctors have warned that the psychiatric structure in South Africa is collapsing.
Reports reveal that in some mental health hospitals there are no psychiatrists, and none of the provinces have organised community-based psychiatric services at present. The South African Society of Psychiatrists (SASOP) said even 150 days after the Health Ombudsman released a report, many hospitals were still facing a shortage of staff with minimal resources.
The president of the SASOP, Professor Bernard Janse van Rensburg, told Health24 that South Africa’s healthcare system is totally fragmented and broken. “Esidimeni was just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. At the beginning of this year, Health Ombudsman Professor Malegapuru Makgoba said the death toll of mentally ill patients who were transferred from Life Esidimeni to 27 NGOs w