By Kaya 959 Reporter
There have been 39 assaults of staff and other patients at the Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in Soweto since January last year.
In a parliamentary response to the DA, Gauteng Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi revealed that 30 mental patients have been assaulted by other patients while nine employees were attacked.
DA spokesperson on Health Jack Bloom said the hospital has admitted 2 319 psychiatric patients since January last year but does not have a dedicated psychiatric ward.
He said the only arrangement is 14 beds reserved for male psychiatric patients and 12 beds for female users in medical wards.
Bloom said the hospital admits that there are inadequate beds for psychiatric patients, particularly because the Accident and Emergency Unit always has an overflow of patients who have to wait for a bed to become available in the wards.
Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital full
MEC Mokgethi said that a 14-bed unit is being refurbished on the ground floor to become a male psychiatric ward.
He added that the referral system is being strengthened to transfer confirmed psychiatric patients to higher-level hospitals after 72 hours of observation.
“The problem, however, is that the psychiatric unit at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is always full. It is very disappointing that proper arrangements have still not been made to ensure the safety and well-being of psychiatric patients at this hospital,” he said.
“I am very concerned by the continuing lack of measures to avoid violence by psychiatric patients at this hospital. This is despite the terrible incident in May last year when an elderly patient was stabbed to death by a mentally ill patient who also injured another patient,” Bloom added.
Last year, the Gauteng Department of Health revealed that an investigation was underway following a rape report at the facility.
This was the third rape case reported. At the time, Bloom said it was a problem that psychiatric patients were placed in the same wards as non-psychiatric patients.
Pensioner Kholisile Edwin Zazayokwe died in May last year after allegedly being stabbed by a 17-year-old boy at the hospital. The teenager was sent for a psychological assessment after the incident.
Another senior patient was injured in the attack.