Doctors fear for their lives - Sama

2010-11-03 15:42

Johannesburg - Health practitioners on Wednesday urged Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi to tackle the critical issue of safety and security in hospitals following Saturday's assault and gang rape of a doctor at a Bloemfontein hospital.

The SA Medical Association (Sama) said Motsoaledi should include safety and security in his plans to improve the healthcare system in light of the rape at Pelonomi Regional Hospital in Bloemfontein.

Medical staff at public hospitals across the country have been subjected to armed robberies, murder and rape.

"We... call for the hospital managers, provincial health department leaders, MECs and Motsoaledi to deal with this crucial issue of security with the sensitivity and urgency it deserves. Tangible action and not empty rhetoric is needed.

"Indeed, the issue of security is of national importance since it is not only the doctors or healthcare workers who are at risk, but the very same patients we all serve," Sama said in a statement.

The association called on government to remove all "incompetent" security companies in public hospitals so that medical staff could feel safe in their work.

"Are we going to wait for all the patriotic doctors to leave our unsafe public hospitals en mass before we react? How many more should be victims before decisive action is taken?

"Should we mobilise all our doctors to stop responding to emergencies if their lives are at risk?" Sama asked.