Calls for security improvement made after mentally ill patients at Bheki Mlangeni hospital

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Zodidi Mhlana

JOHANNESBURG- Security should be beefed up at the Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in Soweto after it emerged that seven mental health patients were injured and health workers assaulted since January last year.

DA health spokesperson, Jack Bloom made this call on Thursday saying a specialised psychiatric unit was required in a bid to avoid such occurrences.

“There’s no dedicated psychiatric ward, with mental health patients, mental health patients might injure themselves and try and commit suicide, you need to have proper security in a secured ward so that they don’t jump out of a window or do other things similar to that. There are instances where medical workers get assaulted, the best standard is to have a dedicated secure psychiatric ward,” he said.

Details of these injuries and attacks were revealed by the provincial health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa while responding in the legislature.

A total of 2428 mental patients have been admitted to the hospital from March 2017 to March this year the MEC explained.

“You’ve got 2000 patients a year who are put in an ordinary ward and this is not the best practice. Other hospitals like South Rand and Tembisa have psychiatric wards, I don’t know why this hospital does not have a ward. This is not good for both the safety of patients and health workers. I think the issue is that the facilities are inadequate. Having a dedicated ward is better. I am concerned that a large number of psychiatric patients are referred to this hospital without adequate measures to ensure that they cannot harm themselves or others. Last year she said that two 6-bed cubicles had been identified to accommodate psychiatric patients, but this has not happened despite the need for a secure facility to prevent injuries or assaults,” he said.

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