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Durban - A mentally ill patient was found with burn wounds after he was locked in a ward on his own at Wentworth Hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) said on Tuesday.

IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health, Ncamisile Nkwanyana said urgent action should be taken against any medical personnel who neglect mentally ill patients in healthcare facilities. 

"Neglect of mentally ill patients is a serious concern, misconduct, incompetence and negligence have no place in our health care system, and any person found guilty of such conduct must face drastic consequences."

"The nurses must be suspended, their actions must be investigated and if found guilty they must be fired and lack of empathy has no place in our health care system," said Nkwanyana.

She said they were witnessing a collapse of the professional health-care sector especially in public facilities where professionalism seemed to be lacking.

There was a need to strengthen the fight against shoddy treatment of patients and to call for nurses to do their job effectively, she said. 

"The IFP believes that mental health care management and services must be made a priority, mental health screening must also be integrated with care and management at primary care level."

"Managers need to be trained in mental health management, care and treatment to ensure mental health care is treated as an essential part of health-care delivery. It should be integrated into routine health-care delivery," said Nkwanyana.

She added that no person should suffer in silence and that all those in need should be supported.

"I call upon all people to support citizens suffering from mental illness, raise awareness of mental health conditions through appropriate programs," concluded Nkwanyana.

KZN department of health spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda said the patient was receiving medical attention.

African News Agency/ANA