Health facilities due for security upgrade

Time of article published Jun 13, 2011

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The Eastern Cape health department will be looking at replacing security guards at health facilities in the province with electric security systems, spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said on Monday.

Provincial health MEC Sicelo Gqobana was in Queenstown on Monday to discuss the safety of health professionals with the SA Medical Association.

“The MEC told doctors that what is on the table is a migration from warm bodies being deployed in hospitals to electric security systems such as metal detectors and CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras,” Kupelo said.

“The doctors wanted time frames from the MEC on when the department was going to fix the issue of security in public health facilities.”

He said there had been a number of incidents regarding security at hospitals in the Eastern Cape over the past 11 years.

In 2001 a doctor was killed in his house at the Frontier Hospital in Queenstown. In 2002 a nurse was raped while working at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha.

Late last year there was a shooting at the Livingstone Hospital in Port Elizabeth, he said.

Earlier this year at the same hospital a prison warder who was escorting a prisoner was shot and killed on the hospital premises.

Kupelo said other concerns discussed with Gqobana, apart from security, was the non-payment of health professionals' benefits and the amount of hours that private doctors were working at state institutions.

In the past private doctors worked 40 hours a week in a state hospital, which had been reduced to 20 hours, he said.

Gqobana told the association he would return to Queenstown on June 21 with his top management to further discuss the issues raised at the meeting. – Sapa

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