Psychiatric hospital to improve North West health services

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pretoria - The construction of a state-of-the-art psychiatric hospital in the North West is set to improve the province's mental health services for many people who previously had limited access.

Construction of the Bophelong Psychiatric Hospital in Mahikeng is expected to start immediately after the site is officially handed over by North West Premier Thandi Modise and Health MEC Dr Magome Masike to the winning bidder on Tuesday.

"This will increase access to mental health care services and also boost chances of psychiatric patients to respond to treatment as they will be treated and cared for next to home.

"In the not so distant future, the department will construct community based psychiatric health care facilities in the four districts of the province namely Ngaka Modiri Molema, Bojanala, Dr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati and Dr Kenneth Kaunda," said North West health department spokesperson, Tebogo Lekgethwane.

A total of R478 million has been set aside for the construction of the psychiatric hospital and the project is expected to be completed in the next 24 months.

Lekgethwane said the department had initially planned to construct a 648-bed hospital, but following extensive consultation with mental health experts and recommendations by World Health Organization (WHO), Masike decided to downsize psychiatric hospital in favour of community based psychiatric health care facilities.

The hospital will have 384 beds. The department will instead meet its 648-bed target by building facilities throughout the province.

Lekgethwane said each community based facility will make provision for residential needs. These include a day care center, a workshop for occupational activities and industrial therapy.

"It is envisaged that each of these facilities will function independently in terms of staff structures and will be located near health facilities to promote easy outreach of health professionals," he said. - SAnews.gov.za

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