These East Cape Frail Care residents will go to homes for aged, disabled – Bhisho official
Eighty-one of the close to 240 patients at the only two fully state- funded frail care centres in Port Elizabeth will be moved to homes for the aged and homes for the disabled.
This is because the Department of Social Development has classified them as no longer in need of 24-hour care, provincial department head Stanley Khanyile has said in papers before the Port Elizabeth High Court.
Khanyile filed the papers as a response to an application by the Frail Care Crisis Collective, a group of families who are trying to provisionally stop the move of patients currently housed at the Lorraine and Algoa frail care centres.
The department did not renew the contract with Eastern Cape Frail Care – the company running the two centres, a subsidiary of Life Esidimeni – and decided to move patients into the care of nonprofit organisations at the end of last year. It was this move that was halted by a court order issued in December.
Khanyile said the department had been paying more than triple the subsidies that frail care centres, providing 24-hour care, received in other provinces.
He has taken the decision to form a public-private partnership with nonprofit organisations (NPOs) to provide further frail care in the province.
After advertising for NPOs to take over the frail care patients, the department was alerted to the fact that its proposed subsidy of R4 000 (a person) a month was too little and that they would not be able to do it for less than R6 000 plus 90% of the old age pension or disability grant.
At this stage, he said, there were 237 patients who had to be moved as one had been discharged and two had died.
According to department assessments, Khanyile said, 38 patients at the two facilities should be transferred to facilities for disabled people as they were not frail, and 43 elderly patients could be accommodated at homes for the aged.
He said of the six NPOs which had shown an interest in providing a frail care service to the rest, none complied with the specifications.
Khanyile said the care of the patients would have to be divided between a number of NPOs as there was no single service provider that could take care of all of the patients.
His department had also negotiated with the Department of Health to take over all medicalrelated services, as it was not in Social Development’s mandate to fund these services.
Khanyile said a survey of other provinces revealed that nobody was paying close to R18 000 a patient for 24-hour care.
- Life Esidimeni Centres in Limpopo received R3 500 a patient;
- In Mpumalanga, frail care facilities received R4 800 a patient;
- In Gauteng, frail care patients were subsidised at a cost of R4 000 a month;
- In KwaZulu-Natal, patients had a R5 000 subsidy; and
- In the Western Cape, the frail care subsidy was R4 065.
Judge Elna Revelas postponed the matter to May 25.
The Frail Care Crisis Collective’s Gerhardt Loock said: “The department is making this all about money, but it is about so much more.”