The World's 3rd Biggest Hospital, in South Africa.

Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Departments

Psychiatry Unit

Head: -currently unspecified- (Principal Specialist)

The Department of Psychiatry's aims are to provide a multidisciplinary and holistic psychiatric service, to facilitate high quality undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and to carry out research into issues relevant to the discipline.

Patients with a wide spectrum of psychiatric disorders are assessed and managed by the staff. The multidisciplinary team (doctors, nurses, psychologists, occupational therapists, social workers) is essential for the care of patients, taking into account biological, psychological and social aspects. The psychiatric nurse is recognised as a vital contributor to the care and treatment of the mentally ill. The Psychology Department offers stress management and relaxation training for staff in the hospital, as well as the community.

The psychiatric multidisciplinary team strives to deliver a high level of psychiatric care to patients in spite of the serious constraints it has to contend with. Underlying this professionalism is a belief in giving patients respect, consideration, understanding and support.


Fifth and sixth year medical students, student nurses, primary health care nurses, social worker students and occupational therapy students are taught practical skills in the field of psychiatry.


The bulk of the services go to the care of inpatients. The department has 4 adult wards with a total of 155 beds. Bed occupancy runs at approximately 90% and there are an average of 15 admissions per day.

The adult outpatient clinic sees about 400 patients per month. The provision of a diagnostic and therapeutic service to patients in a medical/surgical setting is the role of the consultation liaison psychiatrist. This liaison service manages a further 400 patients per month.

The child and adolescent psychiatry unit offers outpatient services to about 375 children and their families per month. A consultation liaison service is offered to the Department of paediatrics, in particular the Oncology Unit.

Future Plans

The Psychiatry Department in this hospital has expanded to the extent that the wards are overcrowded, in need of repair and, in many ways, unsuitable for psychiatric patients. They are in dire need of recreational space and equipment. Management are addressing this issue with the proposed construction of three 30-bedded wards in the future. A 20-bedded unit, with in-built safety measures, is currently under construction and an in-patient child psychiatry unit is at the planning stage. In addition, the general facilities of the unit are being upgraded.

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