National 3.9.2016 06:10 pm

Security bolstered following death of three psychiatric patients

Health stock image.

Health stock image.

The South Rand Hospital has since re-installed burglar bars and strengthened security measures where possible, including putting more security personnel at the entrance of the ward.

The Gauteng Department of Health regrets the death of three psychiatric patients at South Rand Hospital this year, reports the Comaro Chronicle.

Steve Mabona, spokesperson of the department, responded to a statement by DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health, Jack Bloom, titled, ‘Psychiatric patient dies after jumping from window at South Rand Hospital’. Mabona said indeed three patients had regrettably died at this facility.

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The hospital has since re-installed burglar bars and strengthened security measures where possible, including putting more security personnel at the entrance of the ward.

“We have also involved occupational therapy and physiotherapy to intensify and consolidate recreational activities for mental health care users at the facility. Following the internal investigation, no medical negligence was identified. So no medical personnel were held responsible for the incidents,” he said.

In reply to Bloom’s questions in the Gauteng Legislature, Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu said the first patient jumped to his death from the seventh floor on May 12, another patient removed the burglar bars and jumped from the fourth floor, and on August 12 another patient also jumped from the fourth floor.

Bloom mentioned that Mahlangu said burglar bars had been restored and mesh put on all windows but that security precautions “are sometimes not sufficient”.

Mahlangu added that by law all hospitals have to observe psychiatric patients for 72-hours after being admitted and additional space for this was being created at all hospitals.

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“I am horrified that three people have died this year at the hospital and I hope that the new measures prevent further cases. But I warned last year that there were inadequate arrangements for the large influx of psychiatric patients at South Rand Hospital because of renovations at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.

“It is a great pity that stringent measures were not taken sooner that could have prevented these three tragic deaths,” noted Bloom.

Caxton News Service

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