Union bemoans hospital 'war zones'
Johannesburg - The death of the doctor killed by a patient in hospital in Mpumalanga is a big loss for a country desperately in need of doctors, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) said on Wednesday.
"It is unfortunate that our hospitals have been turned into warzones where people do not feel safe because of government's ill-conceived policy of privatisation and outsourcing," union spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.
"The union, though shocked, is not surprised because people have been continuously attacked at Middelburg Hospital without any action from the institutional and provincial management."
He said the security companies contracted to the health department provided inadequate and poorly trained guards in most health facilities.
On Tuesday, a 32-year-old patient allegedly stabbed Dr Senzosenkosi Mkhize in the chest, and a security guard who tried to intervene, in the wrist. At the time Mkhize was working in the out-patient department, where the patient had gone for a follow-up consultation.
The guard was admitted to the same hospital in a stable condition. Mkhize was transferred to a nearby private hospital in a critical condition and died later in the day.
The patient fled the scene and was still at large.
Pamla said the dedication of health practitioners was betrayed by the government's callous and negligent attitude and workers felt they were not appreciated nor recognised.