Denosa calls for appropriate placement of psychiatric patients after security assault Estcourt Hospital patient

Video footage shows an elderly man elderly man being beaten by two private security guards at Estcourt Hospital. Picture: Screen grab of video.

Video footage shows an elderly man elderly man being beaten by two private security guards at Estcourt Hospital. Picture: Screen grab of video.

Published Jun 27, 2021

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DURBAN - The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) has called on the Department of Health to stop placing psychiatric patients with general patients after an elderly man was beaten by security guards at Estcourt Hospital.

In a statement yesterday, provincial Denosa spokesperson Mandla Shabangu, said the union condemned the incident where a patient was recorded being assaulted by two security guards at Estcourt Hospital on Thursday night.

Denosa called for the Department of Health to stop placing psychiatric patients with normal patients in general wards, otherwise more patients and healthcare workers would be hurt.

“This mixing of patients does not only pose a threat to nurses who are not trained to manage them, but also is a threat to other patients,” said Shabangu.

In one of two videos circulating on social media, the patient is seen lying down on a hospital bed while two security guards dressed in black uniforms hold him down as they slap and punch him.

In the second video, two nurses are seen standing at the foot of the bed while both guards continue to hold the man down, who appears to be struggling, while they continue to punch him.

On Saturday, the KZN Department of Health said the two private security guards implicated in the video were dismissed by their employer.

“The nurse who is believed to have filmed the incident, but did nothing else, has been placed on precautionary suspension, pending finalisation of the investigation,” said the Department.

Shabangu said the union had been informed that three nurses had been suspended. However, this could not be confirmed by the provincial health department yesterday.

Denosa said the incident was caused by the department’s failure to prevent the placing of mental health care patients with ordinary patients.

The union said the department had also failed to orient security on how to manage violent patients. It said psychiatric hospitals were always full and there was no seclusion rooms in general wards to isolate patients while they waited for beds to become available.

“We are of the view that nurses are now used as scapegoats for management’s dismal failure in that hospital to admit patients in correct wards and to allocate qualified or specialist nurses to deal with such patients.

“One of the nurses involved there is an Enrolled Nursing Assistant (ENA) who has been suspended after this incident. The question is: what would an ENA have done to treat a violent psychiatric patient when they are never trained on psychiatry?” said Shabangu.

In a statement released by the KZN Health Department on Friday, MEC Nomagugu Simelane expressed her concern that instead of reporting the incident to hospital management, the nurse decided to release the video.

The MEC said the incident was being investigated and that management of the hospital had been instructed to deal with the matter decisively.

THE MERCURY

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