Gauteng mental health staff faced 41 attacks by patients in past year - govt

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There were 41 attacks on healthcare staff in Gauteng.
There were 41 attacks on healthcare staff in Gauteng.
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  • 41 attacks were reported in 10 healthcare facilities in Gauteng.
  • The incidents occurred between January 2020 and November 2021.
  • The incidents were reported as "injury on duty".

There were a  total of 41 attacks on staff by mental healthcare patients, Gauteng health said in a statement on Tuesday.

"For the period between January 2020 to November 2021, there was a total of 41 attack incidents on staff by mental healthcare patients.

"These attacks vary, but in the main revolve around nurses, doctors, and security guards being either assaulted or bitten by mental healthcare patients," spokesperson for Health MEC Kwara Kekana said.

In one incident, a patient at a clinic in the Sedibeng Health District pulled a light bulb from the ceiling and attacked staff.

The 41 attack incidents happened in 10 healthcare facilities:

Twelve incidents at Far East Rand Hospital

Seven at Leratong Hospital

Six at Pretoria West Hospital

Five at Tembisa Tertiary Hospital

Four at Jubilee Hospital

Three at Odi Hospital

Two at Tara H Moross Psychiatric Hospital

One at Lenasia South District Hospital 

One at Mbatha Community Healthcare Centre

As a result, the department said it was providing continuous training to its staff on how to manage aggressive patients, and various measures had been put in place to reduce the attacks on staff.

These various measures included sedating mental healthcare 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.

"In addition, the department has placed security personnel at casualty departments to assist with psychiatric patients," Kekana concluded.

The department reported all the cases as "injury on duty" and referred them to the Employee Assistance Programme for further management.

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