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PE-Express
New mental health unit for Bay
The Eastern Cape Department of Health MEC, Sindiswa Gomba, (left) and the chairperson of the Provincial Hospital Board, Pula Lonake (right), cutting the ribbon at the official opening of the newly renovated mental health unit at PE Provincial Hospital. Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

MENTAL health patients in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro having to wait up to three weeks at public hospitals for a bed, will now be admitted to a newly renovated mental health unit.

This, as Eastern Cape Department of Health MEC, Sindiswa Gomba, officially opened the mental health unit at the Port Elizabeth Provincial Hospital last week.

According to Sizwe Kupelo, the provincial spokesperson for the Department of Health, the new unit will go a long way in addressing the need for mental health assistance in Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.

“The opening of the renovated unit also shows how dedicated the department is in addressing the issues that were red-flagged by health ombudsman, Professor Malegapuru Makgoba, in his report on Tower Psychiatric Hospital,” Kupelo said.

The renovation of the new unit seeks to accommodate the existing mixed bed acute adult in-patient psychiatric unit, to a gender differentiated unit. In addition, the unit will have its own dedicated staff as the ward has been earmarked for acutely ill patients who need to be hospitalised for observation.

Eastern Cape Department of Health MEC, Sindiswa Gomba, at the plague commemorating the newly-renovated mental health unit at PE Provincial Hospital.Photo: KAILIN DANIELS
The female section of the newly-renovated mental health unit at PE Provincial Hospital.Photo: KAILIN DANIELS

The new unit has 18 beds for men and 18 for women and four seclusion rooms.

Gomba said that it’s no secret that the Health Department is experiencing challenges with regard to the availability of beds.

Gomba added, “However, what excites me is the opening of the mental health unit at PE Provincial Hospital. We’re trying to alleviate the problem by saying that if we can make this one work and get more funding, we will be able to venture to other areas. It is not a secret that we’re overwhelmed with bed availability.”

Nelson Mandela Bay MMC for public health, Yolisa Pali, said that they are grateful for the upgrade.

Pali added, “The opening of this unit will see a lot of patients in the Nelson Mandela Bay being treated. This is indeed a boost for the metro and we are very excited about it.”

Gomba could not confirm the funds spent for the project, as other renovations for the unit are still underway. However, patients will be admitted to the newly renovated unit as soon as possible, she said.

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