History of Fort Napier Hospital
Fort Napier is situated on a hill overlooking the city of
Pietermaritzburg, From the grounds of the hospital there is a glorious panoramic
view of the city with historic hill in
the distance such as “Swartkop” ”Foxhill” and “Signal Hill” which are intimately
associated with the historic battles in which the Garrisons of Fort Napier
played a part.
A primitive Fort was erected in 1843 troops occupied Fort Napier till 1914.In
1918 it was handed over to union government for use as a Mental hospital. In the
grounds of Fort Napier there are sealed underground tunnels, e.g. one is at the
farm covered by a huge concrete block. In 1927 the hospital was opened by
Dr. Willis the first Superintendent. The first patients arrived in 1928
As one of the institutions within the Midlands Complex the work intermeshes with
and complements that of Townhill Hospital but Fort Napier Hospital has been
identified as Psyco-social rehabilitation and Forensic hospital. Fort Napier
Hospital has an academic and service component. The doctors, psychologist and
nurses on training rotate between three hospital (Townhill, Umngeni and Fort
Fort Napier has a multidisciplinary approach with the aim of discharging
patients back to the community, but some stay for a considerable period of time.
Patients attend Industrial Therapy and Occupational Therapy and work is
structured according to patients ability i.e. Sebenza
Patients receives a certain amount of money and that gives them a sense of self
worth and achievement, besides being taught on how to handle money.
Fort Napier Hospital provides a special Forensic Psychiatric Service. The law
courts may refer a person to Fort Napier Hospital for observation and an
assessment of his/her mental state, to determine whether he / she can stand the
trial or be declared as a state patient. The forensic block was opened in 1993
to facilitate the management of these patients.
These state patients regard this hospital as their home because they stay for a
considerable period of time + 15 years.