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'Mentally-challenged' should have a choice

Patients who are mentally ill, and in the care of state institutions, should be allowed the right to challenge decisions concerning their care and treatment, Health// Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang said.

Speaking at a gathering of Mental Health Review Board members, at Weskoppies psychiatric hospital, Pretoria, the minister said "We must work tirelessly to change the practice from the past that mental health care users could be locked in hospitals and unilateral decisions taken on their care, treatment and rehabilitation."

She cautioned that the issue of compulsory admissions of these individuals would remain controversial because it trespassed on "personal liberties and the right to choose" and harbored the risk of abuse although it helped to prevent harm to oneself and others.


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