Tuesday, 25 June, 2024
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Safety audit proposed after hospital staff attacked by psychiatric patients

Since January, there have been 43 attacks by psychiatric patients on staff at 17 Gauteng state hospitals, with the DA in the province now calling for safety audits and for precautions to be taken to guarantee safety of staff and other patients.

The statistics were revealed to the DA’s health spokesperson Jack Bloom by Health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi after questions from the party.

According to allegations, mental health patients were not kept in properly secured psychiatric wards and these attacks happened in departments outside psychiatric units.

The proposal for safety audits comes nearly six months after News24 reported that psychiatric patients at Helen Joseph Hospital had assaulted 32 and caused extensive damage to property in the past year.

Earlier in the year, Bloom urged the provincial department to provide adequate staffing and improved facilities at Helen Joseph Hospital. In March, 25 staff were attacked in the emergency department, another six in the female ward and one in the male ward last year.

Bloom said Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital had the highest number of attacks, and that Mokgethi had detailed attacks on 16 employees, which included nine slapping incidents, two biting incidents, punches to the head and one incident involving a groin injury.

At Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, there had been five assaults on staff and two attacks in the Accident and Emergency Unit, one of which allegedly involved an attempted strangulation. Other affected hospitals were Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Bheki Mlangeni District Hospital, Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Sebokeng Hospital, Bertha Gxowa Hospital and Leratong Hospital.

Psychiatric patients were nursed in normal wards due to a limited number of beds in the psychiatric ward, the MEC said in her response.

Bloom said facilities were inadequate even though pledges had been made to improve mental healthcare after the widely publicised Life Esidimeni tragedy.


News24 article – DA proposes safety audit as Gauteng hospital staff work in fear of attacks from patients (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Surge in assaults on staff by psychiatric patients at Helen Joseph Hospital


Casualty is the worst for attacks on Gauteng hospital staff


Another alleged rape at a Gauteng psychiatric hospital


Lack of suitable facilities keeps over 100 psychiatric patients in hospital




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