The psychiatric patient saga continues as many psychiatric patients desperately need hospitalisation, but cannot be admitted because beds are occupied by patients who should have been discharged, Krugersdorp News reports.
More than 100 psychiatric patients who are currently admitted in state psychiatric hospitals across Gauteng cannot be discharged because there are no facilities to take care of them afterwards.
Gwen Ramokgopa, MEC for Gauteng health, said patients who are discharged from psychiatric hospitals when they’re stable enough need to find mental health clinics to take care of them.
Jack Bloom, the shadow MEC for Health for the DA in Gauteng, said in a press statement that followed the saga of the closure of various psychiatric facilities around Gauteng, including the Sterkfontein Psychiatric Hospital, that hospitals are now packed full with mental health patients and therefore cannot accommodate new admissions.
“It also costs about R6.8 million a month to keep these patients in the three psychiatric hospitals as per the following: Weskoppies Hospital – 51 patients costing R53 000 a month each; Sterkfontein Hospital – 38 patients costing R47 000 a month each, and Tara Hospital – 18 patients costing R129 000 a month each,” Bloom said.
The hospitals now have to rely on mental health NGOs to take care of discharged patients.
“The subsidy for mental health patients in approved NGOs ranges from R1 249 to R4 096 per month.”
He also said that there aren’t enough NGOs to take in all the discharged patients, and they certainly don’t have enough money to take care of the patients they do receive.
“The solution is to increase the subsidy so that more NGOs are able to take discharged psychiatric patients and provide the continuing care that they need. This is not a good situation and changes are needed so that psychiatric patients get good care at every level of the system.”
– Caxton News Service