Prince Mshiyeni staff picket over safety

Health-care workers picketed outside Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital over safety issues and a shortage of staff. | Supplied

Health-care workers picketed outside Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital over safety issues and a shortage of staff. | Supplied

Published Jun 24, 2024


Durban — Health-care workers from Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital in uMlazi, Durban, took to the main entrance to picket over safety issues and staff shortages on Friday.

The health-care workers’ union Public Servants Association of South Africa (PSA) spokesperson Mlungisi Ndlovu said their issues include neglected infrastructure, staff vehicle break-ins by criminals, hijacking of mobile clinics and ambulances and a shortage of staff while working.

“We are picketing against the robbery and hijacking of mobile clinics in our area.

“We demand improved security measures to ensure our safety and the safety of our patients because there have been incidents in which their vehicles have been broken into. And many of the staff such as nurses and doctors whose shifts end late in the evening feel unsafe at the parking lot,” Ndlovu said.

The mobile clinics staff decided to halt the operation due to the growing safety concerns, he said.

The union supported the new health facilities launched by the MEC for Health Nomagugu Simelane in KZN, he said.

However, they urged the department to ensure the effective utilisation of these facilities.

“The facilities are short-staffed and the health-care workers are often experiencing burnout from working long hours with many patients,” he said.

Mobile clinics have not been used for weeks due to attempted hijacking incidents when health-care workers visit the community to work. | Supplied

A health-care worker who did not wish to be named said that all mobile clinics were parked.

KZN Department of Health spokesperson Ntokozo Maphisa said: “As a matter of principle, the department does not speak publicly on matters that are between itself and its employees, as there are established platforms for such engagement, such as the Bargaining Chamber.”

Maphisa added that the department was concerned about the spate of attacks against its community-based outreach teams and the ripple effect of this on the community.

“The department empathises with all staff who’ve borne the brunt of these attacks, and is in constant communication with them. They’ve been offered counselling and time off work as part of their recuperation.

“The department has a duty to protect all its staff, and as such will be forced to take tough decisions where their safety cannot be guaranteed, such as withdrawing much-needed services from certain areas until further notice.”

He said crime is a societal challenge, and is generally perpetrated by people “from our communities”.

“While the department is working on a security strategy to deal with the current situation, which we are unable to divulge at this stage, we wish to place it on record that it will take nothing less than a united effort involving all stakeholders, including the public, community leaders, law enforcement authorities, the media, and government to bring an end to these attacks. The onus is ultimately on all of us to do better, by rejecting crime as an abnormal and abominable scourge that should never be allowed to be part of our lives,” Maphisa said.

He said: “Instead of buying stolen goods and creating a thriving market in which criminals are encouraged to hijack, rob, and murder people for their material possessions and state property, we should all stand together and reject crime in all its manifestations. We must help identify, isolate and report criminals, so that they may be subjected to the criminal justice system and the long arm of the law,” concluded Maphisa.

Health-care workers picketed outside Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital over safety issues and a shortage of staff. | Supplied

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