SAHRC says it is not satisfied by what it saw at Dr George Mukhari Hospital

2019-06-25 18:28
Dr George Mukhari Hospital's psychiatric ward has come under scrutiny. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

Dr George Mukhari Hospital's psychiatric ward has come under scrutiny. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

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During a walkabout at Dr George Mukhari Hospital's psychiatric ward on Tuesday, the South African Human Rights Commission, which is probing alleged human rights abuses at the facility, said it was not happy with what it observed. 

The commission visited the hospital, in the north of Pretoria, following a complaint it had received from the Public Servants Administration (PSA). 

The PSA alleged the psychiatric ward was overcrowded, mental health patients did not have proper beds and blankets, with some having to sleep on the floor. There were also not enough ablution facilities. 

It also complained about construction work at the ward, with patients having to endure the ongoing noise. 

Following the walkabout, the commission's Gauteng manager, Buang Jones, raised concerns about the patients' well-being during the construction work. 

He also raised concerns about the non-performance of the contractor because the renovations have taken a long time and were not in accordance with the hospital's specifications. 

It was impacting on the well-being of the patients, Buang said.  

He added that he could not make a pronouncement on whether there were sufficient beds in the ward or if the care and infrastructure complied with the norms and standards, adding that an independent opinion would be obtained. 

This was because the hospital was informed of the commission's planned visit, so they had sufficient time to prepare, Buang suggested. 

"At the moment, the hospital is not in dire straits, but I cannot say I am satisfied with what I observed."

The hospital's acting CEO, Professor John Ndimande, conceded that there had been issues concerning the psychiatric ward, but said they were being tackled. 

Dr George Mukhari Hospital
Ablutions in the male wing of the psychiatric ward at the Dr George Mukhari Hospital in the the North of Pretoria. (Alex Mitchley, News24)

"We have had problems with our mental health unit, but we are addressing the problems that the patients are facing," Ndimande told the media. 

He added that one of the issues was the contractor, but that improvements have been made. 

Ndimande said once the renovations were completed, with the possible addition of a wing, the ward would be in a position to accommodate more patients. 

He added that the patients were being well-looked after and the standard of care that mental health patients were receiving was good.

Read more on:    sahrc  |  dr george mukhari hospital  |  hospital  |  mental health
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