SAMA backs nurses' HRC complaint over security 'security crisis' in hospitals

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The South African Medical Association (Sama) has thrown its weight behind nurses who have filed a complaint with the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) following the murder and rape of staff at state hospitals, report The Mercury. Sama’s national vice-chair, Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa, said that state medical facilities were “in crisis” as they did not have sufficient security to protect patients and doctors, who were seen as soft targets. The KZN branch of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) said that it had reported KZN Health to the SAHRC regarding the poor state of safety in health facilities in the province. Denosa said a lack of security had led to the attack and killing of health workers and patients, which had resulted in low morale among staff who were constantly worried about their personal safety.

Mzukwa said doctors stood in solidarity with nurses on the issue of safety and had met with Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, to discuss their concerns, which were prevalent at health institutions nationally. He added that several serious crimes against staff had been reported in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

KZN Health spokesperson Noluthando Nkosi said the department was concerned about security at health-care facilities. “The department notes the action and utterances attributed to Denosa, and wishes to reiterate that the safety of members of the public who use its health-care facilities, and its staff, is paramount.” National Health Department spokesperson Popo Maja said violence at hospitals and clinics was of “serious concern”. “Provinces have been urged to work closely with the SAPS to beef up security for health workers, patients and members of the public visiting these health facilities,” he said.

Full report in The Mercury

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