Police launch new hospital at training institute in Pretoria
The South African Police Service (SAPS) has unveiled a 45-bed quarantine and isolation site for members who have Covid-19. Beyond the pandemic, the intention is for the facility to be converted into a 160-bed South African Police Service (SAPS) hospital.
Located at the SAPS Tshwane Academy in Pretoria West, the project is a collaboration between the SAPS and POLMED [SAPS Medical Scheme], working with the Department of Health in preparing the facility.
The police will also have a similar site at the Bishop Lavis Training Academy in the Western Cape.
Speaking at the launch, National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, said a police hospital is part and parcel of a long-term plan. “We intended to have a police hospital by 2021. This also coincides with a police university and detective university, which we intend to have soon,” he said.
This forms part of a large police estate with a multitude of facilities where members could train and receive support.
With an infection rate of 15 707 and Covid-19 claiming the lives of 193 SAPS members, the site will assist with the isolation and recovery of force members. The SAPS has recorded more than 11 000 recoveries.
“To respond to Covid-19, the SAPS established a committee to ensure that the necessary support is availed for officers on the ground. We decided that while we are on a long-term plan to have a police hospital, we have to align our response to Covid-19 by turning this into a quarantine site.
“From then on, a strategy will be put in place to have facilities across all provinces so that we invest in the health of the organisation, making sure that members are taken care of,” Sithole said.
Deputy Minister of Police, Cassel Mathale, said while policing was a psychologically-stressful occupation characterised by danger, and exposure to trauma as well as death, this had been compounded by Covid-19.
“It has exposed us to further health woes. We have lost dedicated officers, while others have been infected. We have had to respond innovatively to curb the rapid spread of this pandemic and protect our front-line workers, for them to continue delivering a much-needed service to citizens.”
Opening the facility was a step in the right direction, he said.