A massive shortages of hospital beds for psychiatric patients in Gauteng is compromising patient care.
Gauteng is short of about 2700 psychiatric beds which means that psychiatric patients have to be admitted to general wards where there is no security, thus posing a threat both to themselves and others.
This was revealed recently by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a 22-page statement handed to the Gauteng Legislature in response to questions about the state of psychiatric care for hospitalised patients.
By the time a person with a psychiatric illness is hospitalised, their symptoms are usually severe and patients may be suicidal or psychotic.
The World Health Organisation (using prevalence US figures) estimates that up to three percent of a population will have severe psychiatric conditions and need hospitalisation. This excludes figures for people with substance abuse-related disorders and post-traumatic stress – so it is likely to be an under-esti