Attack at clinic sparks outrage

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IOL news nov 27 crime tape supplied An attack on a security guard at the Gugulethu community health centre (CHC) has stoked the ire of the SA Medical Association.

Gugulethu - The SA Medical Association (Sama) has expressed outrage at the attack on a security guard at the Gugulethu community health centre (CHC).

The association said such attacks on clinics and hospitals could result in the deaths of health workers.

Dr Zameer Brey, the provincial chairman of Sama, said the latest attack – in which a group of men severely assaulted a security guard after he refused to let them into the clinic – was a manifestation of a total disregard for health workers’ safety in the province.

“We are deeply shocked by the failure of the provincial Department of Health to implement adequate security measures despite the number of incidents in the past few months, let alone in the past few years,” Brey said.

“We are also shocked by the disregard for health care workers’ safety in this province… it cannot be tolerated any longer.”

The department has confirmed that a security guard from the Gugulethu clinic was in critical condition in Groote Schuur Hospital after the attack by a group of alleged gangsters on Tuesday night.

Faiza Steyn, provincial Health Department spokeswoman, said the group “forced their way in and assaulted a security guard” after he allegedly refused the group entry as per the clinic’s admission policy.

Due to the severity of his injuries the security guard, from contracted company Sechaba, was later transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital.

Brey said that if the department took the security of health workers seriously, similar attacks could be avoided. He said many doctors in Gugulethu CHC were too scared to go to work following the attack.

Brey added that almost all the clinic’s doctors had stayed away on Wednesday night due to the trauma experienced on Tuesday.

“You can’t blame those doctors… most of them were deeply traumatised by what happened on Tuesday. Nobody can be expected to work under such circumstances,” he said.

While Brey said many doctors were back at work on Thursday, this did not mean that security was not in crisis at the clinic and various other clinics and hospitals around the province.

“We need long-term solutions to our security problems, and not knee-jerk reactions,” he said. “Too many attacks have happened in different hospitals in the province. How many more must happen before the department takes the issue seriously?”

Other recent attacks in Cape Town include one on a Stellenbosch University final-year medical student who was robbed at knifepoint in her sleeping quarters at Tygerberg Hospital in June. The attack came just a week after a doctor from GF Jooste was robbed at gunpoint in the hospital’s car park. Steyn said district management within the department was currently “reviewing the situation with the security company”. - Cape Argus


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