Psychiatric patients account for most assaults on hospital staff

File image. Mass screening at Sterkfontein Psychiatric hospital. Photo: Facebook Sterkfontein Psychiatric hospital

George Mukhari hospital had the most assaults, with 10 attacks, including one where three security guards were bitten by a psychiatric patient.

Gauteng health MEC Bandile Masuku says forty-one health staff in Gauteng public hospitals were assaulted last year, the vast majority by psychiatric patients.

According to Masuku, who was responding to questions in the Gauteng legislature: “In almost all the cases reported, the perpetrator was a patient and the majority were psychiatric patients. 95% of assaults are by patients with a psychiatric diagnosis.”

George Mukhari hospital had the most assaults, with 10 attacks, including one where three security guards were bitten by a psychiatric patient.

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

“It is very disappointing that this hospital has still not taken effective security measures as a psychiatric patient allegedly murdered another patient there recently,” said the Democratic Alliance’s Jack Bloom.

“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,” he added.

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