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South African officials were “negligent and reckless” in transfer of vulnerable patients to cut costs

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j632 (Published 06 February 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j632
  1. Pat Sidley
  1. Johannesburg

At least 94 patients with mental illnesses and disabilities died in appalling circumstances after a contract between a private mental hospital and the Gauteng provincial government was cancelled last year.

Patients were transferred from Life Healthcare Esidimeni, a large private hospital, to 27 facilities run by non-governmental organisations according to the 60 page report by South Africa’s new Health Ombud, Malegapuru Makgoba.1 He was asked to investigate the deaths by health minister Aaron Motsoaledi when 36 deaths first came to light last year.

“Some of …

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