Four more violent incidents at Bheki Mlangeni Hospital since patient’s murder

Four more violent incidents by mental health patients at the Bheki Mlangeni Hospital have taken place since a patient was stabbed to death by a psychiatric patient last month on 8 May.

This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC, Bandile Masuku in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

According to Masuku, there have been ten violent incidents at the hospital since January this year:

  1. 09/01/2020; Patient assaulted by a mental patient.
  2. 18/01/2020: Patient damaged the property and assaulted an employee.
  3. 27/01/2020; Patient assaulted by a mental patient.
  4. 07/03/2020; Patient gained access through the fire hydrant into the ceiling to escape.
  5. 28/04/2020; Burglar door was disconnected by the patient and used to escape.
  6. 08/05/2020; Patient allegedly stabbed another patient to death.
  7. 09/05/2020; Patient assaulted by a mental patient.
  8. 12/05/2020; Patient assaulted by a mental patient.
  9. 15/05/2020; Patient gained access through the shower room into the ceiling to escape.
  10. 19/05/2020: Patient vandalised the male medical ward (broke windows and damaged certain equipment in the ward).

Masuku says that these incidents are caused by “the medical conditions of the patients. These patients are also managed in a non-secluded environment as there are no dedicated mental health wards.“

Furthermore “Preliminary investigations are underway in order to inform appropriate actions. The Chief Executive Officer is on precautionary transfer” and ”Mental health services are currently suspended to allow Infrastructural challenges to be dealt with by Department of Infrastructural Development (DID).

I am highly disappointed that this hospital has not taken sufficient security steps to prevent violent incidents even after the murder of a patient.

The key problem is that mental health patients are kept in an ordinary ward rather than a dedicated high security ward which should have been built long ago.

I welcome the precautionary suspension of CEO Ruth Mabyana as she has failed dismally to manage the hospital for six years. She should be replaced with someone who can ensure that there is safety and quality care for all patients at this hospital.