The Inkatha Freedom Party in KwaZulu-Natal demands that urgent action must be taken against any medical personnel who neglect mentally ill patients in provincial healthcare facilities.
Recently, a mentally ill patient was locked alone in a hospital ward and was found with burn wounds at Wentworth Hospital.
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.
Lack of empathy has no place in our health care system.
Putting it bluntly we are witnessing a collapse of the professional health care sector especially in our public facilities. Professionalism seems to have gone out the door. There is a need to strengthen our voices against shoddy treatment of patients and to call for nurses to do their job effectively. Often one can describe some nurses as rude, obstructive and completely incompetent.
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.
At the management 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.
No persons should suffer in silence. We must support those in need. I call upon all people to support citizens suffering from mental illness, raise awareness of mental health conditions through appropriate programs.
Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana MPL,
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health,
078 302 3991