Rubbish was strewn along the corridors after workers downed tools. Picture: Itumeleng English/ANA

Johannesburg - The Gauteng Department of Health was on Friday slammed for its "terrible handling" of the situation at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital that saw operations come to a standstill over unpaid bonuses.

On Thursday, a violent demonstration took place at the hospital during which workers blocked entrances to the hospital, damaged equipment, trashed a theatre, shut down the pharmacy and went as far as assaulting a doctor.

The workers want to be paid overtime and bonuses from the 2015/2016 financial year until the 2017/2018 financial year.

This is the second shutdown at the hospital this month.

DA health spokesperson Jack Bloom on Friday slammed the department for its poor handling of the matter, despite the warning signs. 

"Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa should have anticipated yesterday’s [Thursday] violence at the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital and put in extra security to prevent it happening.

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"There were signs earlier in the week that violence by disgruntled workers was brewing, which included tyre burning and blocked entrances on Wednesday.

Bloom added that police should have been on standby at the hospital on Thursday "as it was likely the violence would intensify".

"Once again, Premier David Makhura’s much-vaunted war room failed to pick up clear warning signs and intervene early both to address the worker grievances and to prevent further vandalism at the hospital.

"The Gauteng Health Department has handled this whole matter poorly - they need to settle worker grievances speedily and fairly, and also ensure that hospitals are able to provide their essential service at all times.

Bloom confirmed that talks were under way and that there was a heavy police presence at the hospital following the violence. 

Operations are reported to be back to normal at the hospital.