By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:
The Psychiatric Unit at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital has a severe staff shortage, with 34 posts vacant.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.
Nurse vacancies are highest – the unit is short of 11 enrolled nurse assistants, nine professional nurses and five enrolled nurses.
Six medical posts are empty, including four specialists, one registrar and one medical officer.
Management is lacking as the unit is currently lacking an Operational Manager and two Assistant Managers.
According to Mahlangu, processes are underway to fill all the posts by the end of September this year.
Beds at the unit are currently 94% full.
Mahlangu confirms in her reply that a doctor is being charged with the assault of a patient and bringing the department into disrepute.
According to reports, a 16-year-old boy was beaten so badly that he ending up lying on the floor in a pool of blood. His father was handed a tooth and told that his son lost it biting an elderly man who tried to help.
There is no excuse for any violence against a patient, but short-staffing could be a contributing factor in this alleged incident.
I hope that Mahlangu fulfils her promise to fill vacancies as under-staffing is stressful for staff and undermines care for mentally ill patients