Long wait for 138 awaiting trial patients at Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital

By Jack Bloom MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Health:

138 male patients awaiting mental evaluation for trial are on the waiting list to be admitted at the Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital, which will take between 8 to 12 months.

This unsatisfactory situation is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Qedani Mahlangu in a written reply to my questions in the Gauteng Legislature.

There are another 26 State Patients on the waiting list due to renovations to be completed in the second quarter of 2015/16, and also 36 Single Psychiatry cases who will wait between 6 to 8 months to be admitted.

There is spare capacity at the hospital as only 618 out of 820 beds are occupied. But the problem is that there are 39 staff vacancies, including 13 vacant Professional Nurse posts, 6 Nursing Assistant posts, 3 pharmacist posts, and 3 psychologists.

53 members of staff have left the hospital since January, 11 of which were resignations.

The long waiting time to assess patients for trial is of concern as it adds to the delays in obtaining justice through our courts.

It seems that speedy assessments are only done in a high-profile case like that of Oscar Pistorius.

Why not speedy justice for others as well?