As part of efforts to reduce attacks on hospital staff by mental health care patients in public hospitals, the Gauteng Health Department has provided training to its staff on how to manage aggressive patients.
The department says during the period between January 2020 to November 2021, there was a total of 41 attack on nurses, doctors and security guards being either assaulted or bitten by mental healthcare patients.
In one incident a patient at a clinic in Sedibeng Health District pulled a light bulb from the ceiling and attacked staff.
The Health Department’s Kwarra Kekana says the attacks happened at various hospitals including the Far East Rand Hospital, Leratong hospital, Pretoria West Hospital, Lenasia South District Hospital and Levai Mbatha Community Healthcare among others.
“Various measures that have been put in place to reduce attacks on staff include sedating mental patients at casualty on arrival at a facility where necessary. In other instances mental healthcare patients are admitted to 72 hour observation units immediately. Doctors and nurses accompany each other when attending to mental healthcare patients.”
Kekana says the health department has also placed security personnel at casualty department to assist with psychiatric patients.