MEC Gwen Ramokgopa condemns continuous attacks on health workers

Gauteng MEC for Health, Dr Gwen Ramokgopa has condemned continuous attacks on healthcare professionals by members of the public. This follows two separate incidents of attacks over the weekend at Leratong Hospital.

On Sunday, 2 December 2018, Leratong Hospital experienced an incident of attempted forced entry at its Casualty Ward after escorts of a patient who had allegedly been shot during an ATM bombing tried to gain unlawful entry into the facility.

An altercation ensued with the security officer of a private security company stationed at the hospital, where in the escorts stabbed the security officer. Police were subsequently called to the hospital and a case of assault has been opened.

The second incident involved harassment of Emergency Medical Department personnel who were threatened by escorts of a patient who was declared dead on arrival at the facility. The escorts accused the personnel of negligence, which they claimed, led to the death of the patient. Police were again called in for assistance.

As a department, we condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the attacks on hospital staff. Not long ago a doctor was allegedly assaulted by a patient's escort at this hospital.

And while we understand that emotions sometimes do rise in the course of interactions between hospital staff and the public, we urge members of the public to treat hospital staff with respect and courtesy as the officials try to do their best under very trying conditions. We urge anyone with information to come forward in order to assist the police to bring the perpetrators to book, said MEC for Health Dr Gwen Ramokgopa.

The department has also noted with great concern a video which is circulating (attached) on social media where a nurse is being harassed inside a clinic. This incident is disconcerting and it's an absolute barbaric act. The health workers go to work to serve the communities and saves lives and it is unacceptable that they are being abused in this manner by some members of our communities.

In a country such as ours, where there is a shortage of medical personnel, attacks of this nature will further deter many from entering medical profession. When members of the public are not satisfied with quality of service in any of our facilities they should use redress channels available to them, added Dr Ramokgopa.

The department is working with the South African Police Service to ensure that security is beefed up over the festive season period.

Source: Government of South Africa