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Gauteng health MEC says psychiatric patients responsible for most attacks of healthcare workers

Health Practitioner

Forty-one staff in Gauteng public hospitals were assaulted last year, the majority by psychiatric patients.

This was revealed by Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku in a written reply last week to questions in the Gauteng legislature.

“In almost all the cases reported, the perpetrator was a patient and the majority were psychiatric patients …The main reason identified is that the patients are most times confused and do not know what exactly they are doing … 95% of assaults are by patients with a psychiatric diagnosis,” Masuku said.

George Mukhari Hospital, north of Pretoria, had the most assaults. “There were 10 attacks, including one where three security guards were bitten by a psychiatric patient.”

DA shadow health MEC and MPL Jack Bloom said: “It is very disappointing that this hospital has still not taken effective security measures as a psychiatric patient allegedly murdered another patient there recently.”

Masuku said Bheki Mlangeni Hospital in Soweto had eight attacks, six of which were perpetrated by psychiatric patients.

Other health facilities that recorded attacks on staff include the following:

Tembisa Hospital – five injuries reported

Mamelodi Hospital – five injuries reported

Leratong Hospital – one human bite injury

Bertha Gxowa Hospital – one assault reported

Johannesburg clinics – three assaults recorded

“It is really shameful that following the Life Esidimeni tragedy the facilities for psychiatric patients in our hospitals are still inadequate to prevent harm both to themselves and to others,” said Bloom.

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Source: Sowetan