Staff safety not prioritised at public healthcare facilities: Medical association

The SA Medical Association has expressed concern about lack of safety for staff at healtchare institutions.
The SA Medical Association has expressed concern about lack of safety for staff at healtchare institutions.
Image: 123RF/Lucian Coman

The SA Medical Association (Sama) on Thursday expressed horror at the attempted rape of a female junior doctor at the Pelonomi Tertiary Hospital in Bloemfontein on Tuesday night.

The victim bit the man's tongue so severely he required surgery. The health department in the Free State has increased security at the hospital following the incident.

"It is discouraging that the safety and security of healthcare practitioners in public institutions is an issue which has still not been prioritised by the department of health, especially at this hospital where a similar incident has occurred before," said Dr Angelique Coetzee, chair of Sama.

Coetzee said Sama was greatly concerned and dismayed at the shocking frequency of assaults on health-care practitioners at public institutions.

She said these assaults threatened the lives and wellbeing of health practitioners and  patients.

"The safety of all health-care practitioners in our public institutions is of paramount importance and, as such, Sama calls on the minister of health, together with the minister of police, to urgently assess the safety and security at these institutions," Coetzee said.

Dr Rhulani Edward Ngwenya, convener of the trade union task team, requested doctors to e-mail security concerns at their institutions to labour@samedical.org to assist in identifying all institutions which experienced security risks.


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