Security beefed up at Leratong Hospital after attacks
Security at Leratong Hospital in Mogale City, Johannesburg, will be beefed up following a spate of violent crime.
In the latest incident, there was an attempted forced entry at the hospital's casualty ward. Escorts of a patient who had allegedly been shot during an ATM bombing tried to gain unlawful entry into the facility.
Gauteng Health MEC Dr Gwen Ramokgopa condemned the repeated attacks on healthcare professionals by members of the public. This comes after two separate attacks at Leratong over the weekend.
“As a department we condemn in the strongest possible terms the attacks on hospital staff. Not long ago, a doctor was allegedly assaulted by a patient’s escort at this hospital,” said Ramakgopa.
In the first incident, criminals allegedly stabbed a security guard at the hospital.
“An altercation ensued with the security officer of a private security company stationed at the hospital, wherein the escorts stabbed the security officer. Police were subsequently called to the hospital and a case of assault has been opened,” said the MEC's spokesperson, Khutso Rabothata.
The second incident involved the harassment of ambulance personnel, who were threatened by people accompanying a patient who was declared dead on arrival at the facility.
“The escorts accused the personnel of negligence, which they claimed led to the death of the patient. Police were again called in for assistance,” said Rabothata.
Following the incidents, Ramokgopa appealed to community members to respect hospital staff. “We urge members of the public to treat hospital staff with respect and courtesy as the officials try to do their best under very trying conditions," she said.
Meanwhile, cellphone footage of another incident showing a nurse being harassed inside a clinic has made the rounds on social media.
“This incident is disconcerting. It’s an absolute barbaric act. The health workers go to work to serve the communities and save lives. It is unacceptable that they are being abused in this manner by some members of our communities,” said Rabothata.
Ramokgopa said these incidents were problematic as they would hinder aspiring healthcare professionals from entering the profession. “In a country such as ours, where there is a shortage of medical personnel, attacks of this nature will further deter many from entering the medical profession," she said.
"When members of the public are not satisfied with quality of service in any of our facilities, they should use redress channels available to them,” she added.
"We urge anyone with information to come forward in order to assist the police to bring the perpetrators to book.”
The department said it was working with police to ensure that security is beefed up over the festive season.