MEC Mahlangu calls for restrain on medical staff attacks

Gauteng MEC for Health, Qedani Mahlangu.

The Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu is concerned about the number of attacks against health professionals in public health facilities.

Mahlangu has called upon patients, families and the public to refrain from physically and verbally abusing health professionals.

“Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital accounted for 20 assaults, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital came second with nine, Pholosong Hospital was third with seven incidents, while Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital recorded four and other facilities accounted for three and less.

“It is disturbing to inform that during the period January 2015 to date, about 65 health professionals were assaulted while performing their duties at our facilities,” said Mahlangu

She said, “The Department requests patients who experience difficulties in any health institution to report their concerns to Quality Assurance Officers based at all our institutions.

“If they are not satisfied they should report to Facility Managers (CEO of the respective hospitals or the Clinic Managers as applicable).

“Their concerns will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.”

“To mitigate on the assaults cases, the Department has implemented the following measures: Security personnel allocated at the Emergency Medical Department, the Mental Health Wards (high risk ward) has both physical barriers and security officials.

“Patients brought in by the SAPS or Correctional Services are kept under guard and psychiatric hospitals staff is continuously trained on management of aggressive patients.

“Aggressive and violent patients in wards are sedated and isolated in seclusion rooms.

“All wards at psychiatric hospitals have CCTV cameras to help in monitoring patients continuously.

“Health professionals are also encouraged to treat patients with care, dignity, respect and act with constraint even during confrontation,” said Mahlangu.

Mahlangu said, “Attacks on health professionals are completely unacceptable. It will not be tolerated.

“Health professionals should be respected and protected by society as they are vital in the delivery of quality health care.

“Such violent actions are taken seriously and will be reported to the police.

“Increasing trauma cases in the province.”

MEC Mahlangu further expressed concern with an increasing number of trauma cases handled by health professionals at health facilities especially during long weekends and holidays. Consequently these resulted in Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital prioritising emergency cases and cancelling or scheduled elective surgeries.

Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital had 1492 patients on waiting list in 2015, and this has increased this year to 2448 patients.

As a result minor procedures and gall bladder surgery are being referred to the other hospitals in the same cluster.

Patients who were deferred are being called in for surgery weekly. The Vascular surgery team is doing some venous access operations at Helen Joseph Hospital.

“Extra theatre lists on weekends and holidays have been introduced to do catch up theatre work. We are hopeful this intervention will yield positive results.

“It is important that we work together as the public to address the level of trauma in our country noting that trauma cases are a challenge at our facilities,” said MEC Mahlangu

Waiting list due to shortage of artificial limbs, arms and hands will be addressed in due course, assured the MEC.

In a drive to halt cases of adverse events taking place in provincial hospitals, the Gauteng Department of Health has put strict measures in place to avoid recurrence of these incidents.

MEC Mahlangu revealed that the Department recorded about 503 serious adverse cases for 2015 in 30 hospitals.

“The cases were for, amongst others allegations of negligence, incompetence of staff, leaving patients unattended and failures within the system.

“The Department will soon partner with Tshwane University of Technology to train more medical orthotists or prosthetics for all four accredited centres, Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital, Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital, Tambo Memorial Hospital and Steve Biko Academic Hospital.”


Siyabonga Mashele

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