Cape Town – The Democratic Alliance party (DA) has reportedly called for a safety audit at Gauteng hospitals following an increase in the attack on hospital employees by mentally ill patients.
Reports said the attacks on hospital staff included punching, slapping, kicking, head- butting and biting by psychiatric patients.
Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi revealed that since January last year, there had been 43 attacks by psychiatric patients at 17 public hospitals, reported IOL.
Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Sebokeng Hospital, Bertha Gxowa Hospital, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in Jabulani were some of the hospitals which had violent attacks, the report said.
Hospital employees alleged that psychiatric patients were not adequately confined in secure psychiatric wards, hence, attacks also occurred outside the psychiatric units.
“We as the DA propose that a proper safety audit of hospitals be conducted, and where security risk is high, especially in hospitals that receive psychiatric patients, adequate steps be taken to ensure the safety of both hospital personnel and patients,” the report quoted DA Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom as saying.
Bloom’s proposal came almost six months after 32 employees at the Helen Joseph Hospital were attacked by psychiatric patients and extensive damage to property was reported in the past year, according to New24.
Responding to Bloom’s concerns, Mokgethi reportedly detailed attacks on 16 employees and said that psychiatric patients were nursed in normal wards due to a limited number of beds in the psychiatric ward, the report said.
Bloom alleged that facilities were inadequate despite pledges made to improve mental healthcare after the widely publicised Life Esidimeni tragedy.
“Staff and mental health patients are victims of this neglect which needs to be rectified as soon as possible. It’s yet another failing of a department plagued by mismanagement and rampant corruption,” Bloom was quoted as saying.
Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe