323 cops medically unfit

TAKING ACTION: Nathi Mthethwa. Pic.Trevor Samson.  22/09/2009. ©  BD
CAPE TOWN. Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa (R) and commissioner Celearrives adress a media briefing 22 Sept 2009 regarding the release of crime statistics for the 2008/09 fiscal year.Pic:Trevor Samson
TAKING ACTION: Nathi Mthethwa. Pic.Trevor Samson. 22/09/2009. © BD CAPE TOWN. Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa (R) and commissioner Celearrives adress a media briefing 22 Sept 2009 regarding the release of crime statistics for the 2008/09 fiscal year.Pic:Trevor Samson

MORE than 300 police officers have been declared medically unfit to work.

This has prompted Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to introduce various interventions to curb "this disturbing trend".

According to the 2008-2009 annual report, 323 officers were having health problems.

Of the total, 227 suffer from health conditions and 96 from stress-related conditions.

There are more than 188000 police officers in the country.

"Although 323 out of 188000 may seem relatively smaller, we remain concerned, hence we put in place various proactive programmes aimed at assisting our members in their well-being," Mthethwa said.

He said the transformation of the police force would be done under the theme: "SAPS members, my family. Together pushing back the frontiers of evil."

Already in place to help officers is an early referral of sick employees to health and wellness programmes for early intervention.

The reskilling, adaptation of workload, number of working hours and improvement of the working environment to accommodate employees who are incapacitated by ill-health is another programme.

Furthermore, employees suffering from chronic medical and psychological illness can access help through medical aid scheme Polmed disease management programme.

"These programmes are not stagnant but are constantly reviewed to measure their impact on members' good health," he said.

"So far most have been successful as employees who are incapacitated by ill-health are reintegrated back into their functional posts, while those who could not be reintegrated into functional posts are redeployed to the non-functional environments (administrative support services)."

He urged members to utilise these resources.

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