‘Patients escape from hospital’

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama shares a moment with a patient after the opening of the Alcohol and other Drug Counselling Unit at the St Giles Hospital in Suva on Wednesday, November 06, 2019. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

TRYING to contain patients in their wards is a daily challenge faced by staff members at St Giles Hospital in Suva.

This was revealed by the psychiatric hospital’s acting medical superintendent Dr Kiran Gaikwad.

The issue came to light during the opening of the hospital’s new drug and alcohol unit by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama last week.

“There are incidents of escape — patients escape from the hospital and it is an ongoing issue,” said Dr Gaikwad in an interview with this newspaper.

“Sometimes they are brought back by staff members with the help of police. “Sometimes they are brought back by relatives because some of these patients don’t like to be in mental hospitals.”

He said it was obvious that most patients did not like to be kept in such facilities.

“We don’t confine them, they are always escaping, it happens every month.

“It’s a challenge for our staff to keep them in the ward, so when any escape happens, we usually inform police.”

Dr Gaikwad added that the number of patients they received sometimes varied.

“The numbers keep varying, sometimes it increases to a hundred,” he said.

“Sometimes it is around 50 to 70, but currently we have around 60 patients.”

He said over the past few months patients had escaped from the hospital.

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