News24

Parliament warns on hospital security

2011-06-08 19:41

Johannesburg - There needs to be tighter security measures at hospitals following the killing of a doctor in Mpumalanga, Parliament said on Wednesday.

"The department of health needs to further tighten its security measures, to ensure that all health care workers feel safe," chairperson of Parliament's portfolio committee on health Dr Bevan Goqwana said in a statement.

"There are huge shortages in the rural areas when it comes to doctors, and the department is battling in attracting doctors to work in rural areas, and his death will make other doctors to be reluctant in working in rural areas."

He said there were many other incidents which showed that security needed to be beefed up at public health facilities.

A 32-year-old patient allegedly stabbed Dr Senzosenkosi Mkhize in the chest, and stabbed the wrist of a security guard who tried to intervene, on Tuesday.

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.

Danger

Goqwana said more focus needed to put on mentally ill patients.

"... many of them are roaming the streets thus causing danger to society.

"The department needs to find a way in which all the mentally patients are collected from the streets and are given treatment, without infringing their rights." he said.

The portfolio committee would monitor the health department to make sure security was heightened.

Review

The Mpumalanga provincial government on Wednesday said security at all health facilities would be reviewed.

Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza said Health MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu, Education MEC Reginah Mhaule, Safety and Security MEC Vusimuzi Shongwe and Public Works MEC Clifford Mkansi would chart a process to review security at health facilities in the province.

The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) said on Wednesday the news of Mkhize's killing was horrific.

Acting CEO Marella O'Reilly said the safety of health practitioners was an ongoing concern by the regulator. Incidents like these were forcing health practitioners overseas, she said.

Shongwe said security guards must search everyone entering a state institution, including hospitals, to make sure they were not carrying weapons.

"Through our security management officials, the department will also establish how the suspect gained entry to the hospital with a knife, without the security guards detecting him, and steps should be taken against those guards who failed to perform their duties as required," he said.

Urgency

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights' Union (Popcru), Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) and National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) were shocked and angered by the killing.

The unions blamed the lack of security and poorly trained guards for the incident.

Denosa spokesman Asanda Fongqo said: "As Denosa we are concerned by the safety and security of healthcare workers in the province as this is not an isolated incident, this issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency if we are to overhaul our health system."

"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," Nehawu spokesman Sizwe Pamla said.

Comments
  • AllBoutTruth - 2011-06-08 20:27

    This type of situation occurs on a seldom basis. It is far more important to ensure that 'doctors' and hospital staff are trained to take resonsibillity for their actions and not run from the scene when they have made an error which cost a life - no matter what age the patient is! Refer the very recent ETV 3rd Degree program!

  • POLLENYS - 2011-06-08 20:58

    No use getting more security guards unless they're well-trained, have a clean record. And what to do about that African disease of sleeping on the job, even in parliament? There are a lot of first hand horror stories about the total lack of work ethic amongst the nursing personnel.

  • chewthefat - 2011-06-08 21:24

    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," Nehawu spokesman Sizwe Pamla said. Please substantiate this statement for the benefit of those of us who do not comprehend the nuances of this remark.

      POLLENYS - 2011-06-08 21:56

      So is that perhaps why the comrades prefer private/outsourced hospitals? Not to mention private or former Model C schools.

  • BigMoose - 2011-06-09 06:43

    The entire country is a war zone, not only hospitals.

  • Worldwise - 2011-06-09 11:24

    "There are huge shortages in the rural areas when it comes to doctors, and the department is battling in attracting doctors to work in rural areas, and his death will make other doctors to be reluctant in working in rural areas." Uhm.....Middelburg Mpumalanga is not exactly rural. There is even a medi clinic there. Cheap shot for you Dr Goqwana for your political agenda of doctor conscription and deployment to the areas containing your uneducated voter base to get them to vote for your party again. And Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza said Health MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu, Education MEC Reginah Mhaule, Safety and Security MEC Vusimuzi Shongwe and Public Works MEC Clifford Mkansi would chart a process to review security at health facilities in the province. Ha ha ha!!!! Any bets on when this process will be ready for implementation? Thats all the ANC can do, talk, talk, talk, knee jerk reaction. Never anything proactive nor ready for implementation, never mind implemented.

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