Not all Esidimenis ended in tragedy

The Baneng Care Centre was the Life Esidimeni facility that made it. Photo: Life Healthcare

Not all Life Esidimeni facilities suffered the same fate as the former Randfontein facility.

Psychiatric patients at the Baneng Care Centre run by Life Esidimeni in Roodepoort have been receiving good care in a cost-effective private/ public partnership with the Gauteng Department of Health.

Jack Bloom, DA Shadow MEC for Health said he observed this himself on Wednesday, 17 May with his colleague Dr Neil Campbell, a member of the provincial legislature.

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The Baneng Centre looks after 275 severly mentally impaired children who he said “were mercifully not transferred to unlicensed NGOs last year as occurred with other Esidimeni patients.”

Bloom said 188 adult patients who were recently sent to the centre from illegal NGOs.

Many of the patients, he said, are completely dependent and require around-the-clock care.

“Senior management showed us the spotlessly clean facilities which include recreational opportunities for the more high-functioning patients,” He said.

The facility gets by with R488 per day for each patient according to the centre’s new contract with the Department of Health. This amounts to R15 000 per month for each patient.

This is similar to the rate paid for approximately 400 former Randfontein Esidimeni patients who are currently at the Selby Park Hospital which has also been treating the patients well.

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Bloom said the costs for patients in state hospitals are much higher:

• Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital – R1960 per patient per day or about R60 000 per patient per month

• Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital – R1386 per patient per day or about R43 000 per patient per month

• Cullinan Care and Rehabilitation Centre – R1486 per patient per day or about R46 000 per patient per month

He feels more state mental patients should be moved to private facilities like Roodepoort Esidimeni and Selby Park that can provide quality care at a lower cost.

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Roxy de Villiers

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