No funds for new frail care patients in Eastern Cape
The Eastern Cape department of social development is struggling to afford to take in new frail care patients, said social development MEC Dr Pumza Dyantyi.
While she denied that the department was depriving older, frail patients admission, she said “severely frail patients” were being referred to the department of health.
The department of social development confirmed that no patients had been admitted to frail care centres over the past year.
In a written answer to a question asked by the DA’s Kobus Botha, Dyantyi said: “The department is unable to afford the exorbitant fees charged for private services in these facilities.”
Currently the department is paying about R18,000 per patient per month.
The only two state frail care facilities in the province are run under the banner of Life Esidimeni by Eastern Cape Frail Care.
She confirmed that the department was, however, abiding by the Port Elizabeth high court order, issued in 2017, which stated that the department was not allowed to move, discharge or relocate any patients who were at the facilities at the time without the permission of an advocate appointed for them.
The Eastern Cape health department ended the long-term contract with Life Esidimeni in December 2017 and at the time planned to move patients into the care of NGOs.
Most NGOs, however, declined to take patients as they said the full-time care of frail patients was too expensive and was not covered by the subsidy the department was willing to pay.