Transfer of Life Esidimeni mental health patients was not handled with the care it deserved: Expert

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Mental Health Care Expert Professor Abel Pienaar says the transfer of mental health patients from the Life Esidimeni facilities to other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) was not handled with the care it deserved.

Pienaar concluded his testimony in the Life Esidimeni Inquest at the Pretoria High Court.

Video | Life Esidimeni Inquest: Professor Pienaar cross-examined

The hearing is considering whether anyone can be held criminally liable for the deaths of 144 mental health patients who were transferred from Life Esidimeni to unregistered NGOs.

Pienaar says patients were transported in large numbers during the transfer process and that compromised their mental and physical health conditions.

“Mental health care users need a certain level of holistic care and the comfort can only be reached when there’s an assessment that’s closer to the expectation of the health care user that can be adhered to, and if not met, it could be to the detriment of the health care user. I would concur with that,” says Pienaar.

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