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NC nurses fear for safety

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“Fortunately she shouted and made enough noise to wake neighbouring nurses. They took photos of the intruder while inside the nurses’ home and he was cornered and arrested.”

Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa). PHOTO: supplied

NURSES employed at state health institutions have been left vulnerable by a spate of break-ins at public hospitals.

Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) deputy provincial chairperson Gilbert Sak said nurses are “under attack”.

Sak said that an off-duty nurse narrowly escaped harm after she was confronted by an intruder who was armed with a knife and a screwdriver.

“The incident took place at the Manne Dipico Hospital nurses’ home in Colesberg on Saturday night (December 1). The suspect gained easy entry into the front entrance of the facility, past security.

“He broke the window and entered the nurses’ home inside the hospital, with a knife and a screwdriver in hand, and broke into the room where the night duty nurse was stationed at the time of the incident.”

Sak added that the intruder woke the community service nurse when he entered the room where she was sleeping.

“Fortunately she shouted and made enough noise to wake neighbouring nurses. They took photos of the intruder while inside the nurses’ home and he was cornered and arrested.”

Sak indicated that the nurse was never offered any trauma counselling and had returned home to Limpopo where she was recovering.

“Security must be tightened for both health workers and patients. An intruder who is armed with dangerous weapons should never be allowed to enter the department’s premises.”

Police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, confirmed that a 20-year-old suspect was arrested on charges of housebreaking in Colesberg.

“He was arrested on the scene by the ambulance personnel and security. The suspect appeared in the Colesberg Magistrate’s Court and the case was remanded until December 10. The investigation continues,” said Kok.

Sak said yesterday that he was appalled by the apparent disregard for the safety of health workers throughout the Province.

“Many health workers are not as lucky as the community service nurse was, where many have met their deaths in similar situations.

“Not long ago, there was a break-in at the Kagisho health centre in the John Taolo Gaetsewe region, where an intruder gained easy access into the health facility and broke the window of the car of an on-duty professional nurse while security personnel were on duty. The matter was reported but there was no response from the employer.”

Sak added that intruders had gained “easy access” into a health facility in the Frances Baard region that is situated close to a tavern.

“The suspect passed through security and was assaulting the nurses.

“Our nurses have mandated us to close the facilities where safety is an issue that doesn’t get addressed. We had engagements with the Department of Health’s senior officials regarding the matter and we still await their responses.”

Sak fears that history will repeat itself after a nurse was killed at her workplace in the ZF Macawu region in 2016.

“The department is forcing our hand to close down facilities across the Province. Attacks on health workers cannot be tolerated, not when we are currently in the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children.”

The MEC for Health, Fufe Makatong, noted the need to strengthen security at at health facilities across the Province.

“Reports presented by different oversight bodies on investigations conducted, recommended that security services need to be tightened.”

This has prompted Makatong to revisit the R224 million contract that was concluded with Defensor Electronic Security Services, where she has indicated that it will not be renewed once it comes to an end in 2020.