Recent reports by the media have surfaced allegations of maltreatment and how the dilapidated infrastructure within our psychiatric hospitals may be affecting the wellbeing of patients.

I have written to the Chairperson of the Health Portfolio Committee, Mxolisi Dimaza MPL, to request an immediate investigation by the committee on these matters.

Some of the issues that need to be investigated are:

• Why the Eastern Cape Department of Health (EC DoH) allows severe overcrowding that directly affects the quality of the treatment received by patients?

• Has the EC DoH given any directives to any hospitals to never turn any patients away, knowing that it will severely affect the treatment received by existing patients?

• What is the EC DoH doing to fill the vacancies of much needed clinical staff to ensure proper treatment?

• What are the immediate infrastructure needs of the different hospitals that would have a significant impact on the quality of treatment for the patients, and what is the EC DoH doing to address this?

• How is the working environment created by the EC DoH affecting the morale of the staff and subsequently the treatment given to patients?

• How does the EC DoH expect hospitals to purchase much needed supplies and food when the Provincial Treasury sees it fit to remove all funding from hospitals at the beginning of the last quarter of the financial year, then only release funds in insufficient drips and drabs creating inadequate supply and treatment problems?

• Is the EC DoH paying their staff, or are they still giving whatever excuse they can to hide the fact that their bloated and overpaid administration is mostly incompetent and cannot budget properly?

All these issues need to also be investigated as far as non-psychiatric hospitals are concerned, but many, if not most psychiatric patients cannot speak for themselves and are often dismissed by society when complaining about maltreatment. We need to prioritize these hospitals, then extend our investigation to cover all health care facilities within the province.


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