Staff in Gauteng hospitals have been attacked 107 times since January last year, mostly by patients or their relatives.
This is revealed by Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa in a written reply to questions in the Gauteng Legislature, writes Jack Bloom – DA Gauteng shadow health MEC in a report on the Politicsweb site.
Tembisa Hospital had the most attacks on staff (16), followed by Weskoppies with 13 attacks, Leratong with 12 and Pholosong with 8 incidents. The Chris Hani Baragwanath, George Mukhari, Helen Joseph and Far East Rand hospitals all experienced 7 attacks on staff in this time period.
Charlotte Maxeke had no reported attacks, and the figures for other hospitals are as follows: Kalafong and Sterkfontein – 6; South Rand – 5; Steve Biko, Mamelodi and Tambo Memorial – 3; and Thelle Mogoerane, Bertha Gxowa, Carltonville, Odi and Pretoria West – 1.
The assaults range from verbal threats and abuse, to physical attacks and a disturbing number of bites (13 in total). At Tembisa Hospital, the recorded incidents were as follows: verbal assault from visitors – 1; verbal assault from patients – 2; physical assault from patients – 7; human bites from patients – 3; physical assaults from visitors – 2; and physical assault from fellow colleagues – 1.
At the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, an employee accused a colleague of being a witch and a nurse threatened a fellow employee with a knife.
Bloom is quoted as saying: “According to Ramokgopa‚ the identified reasons include frustrated or traumatised patients‚ alcohol abuse‚ bad attitudes and some psychotic mental health patients. Many attacks take place at night or over the weekend‚ particularly at the casualty department.
“Increased security can assist in bringing down the attacks‚ but the underlying cause is unfortunately the general violence and intolerance in our society.”