The families of mentally ill patients who have spent years being cared for at Life Esidimeni Care Centres are concerned they will not get the care they need following a court ruling forcing them to move out …

Andrew Pietersen’s uncle, Victor, had been a patient at the Waverley Care Centre in Germiston for well over 20 years. He was diagnosed with cerebrospinal meningitis in his teens.

Pietersen said having his uncle at the hospital had put their minds at ease because of the level of quality, specialised care the 67-year-old received.

“These people are very specialised in terms of what they need, the kind of attention they need, the kind of care they need, and so on, which is what they’re getting where they are now,” he said.

Department of Health had let them down

He and other families who had relatives at the hospital felt like the Gauteng department of health had let them down.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

“We are very upset. This is a very bad way that we have been treated,” Pietersen said.

He did not want to come home

The family was unable to care for him and he did not want to come home.

Gauteng health MEC Qedani Mahlangu’s department and the hospital group agreed in December last year to terminate their contract.

The group served more than 2 000 patients aged between 24 and 101 and provided in-patient care, treatment and rehabilitation for people with chronic psychiatric disorders and severe intellectual disabilities.

The department had decided to send the first batch of 54 patients to the Takalani Home for the Mentally Handicapped, an NGO based in Diepkloof, Soweto.