41 attacks on healthcare staff by mental patients prompt new rules
As part of efforts to reduce attacks on staff by mental health patients in public hospitals‚ the Gauteng department of health says additional measures have been introduced.
Between January 2020 to November 2021‚ the department recorded 41 attacks on staff by aggressive mental health patients.
“These attacks vary‚ but in the main revolve around nurses‚ doctors and security guards being assaulted or bitten by mental health patients‚” said spokesperson Kwara Kekana.
In one incident‚ a patient at a clinic in the Sedibeng district pulled a light bulb from the ceiling and used it to attack staff.
The attacks happened in 10 healthcare facilities in the province: Far East Rand Hospital (12); Leratong Hospital (7); Pretoria West Hospital (6); Thembisa Tertiary Hospital (5); Jubilee Hospital (4); Odi Hospital (3)‚ and Tara H Moross Psychiatric Hospital (2). Lenasia South District Hospital and Levai Mbatha Community Healthcare Centre had one incident each.
Measures put in place to reduce attacks on staff include:
Sedating mental health patients at casualty on arrival at a facility where necessary.
Mental health patients are admitted to 72-hour observation units immediately.
Doctors and nurses accompany each other when attending to mental health patients.
Security personnel are placed at casualty departments to assist with psychiatric patients.