ASSA requests action on violence against medical staff in state hospitals.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Workplace violence (Prevention)
Medical personnel (Management)
Trade and professional associations (Services)
Pub Date: 05/01/2008
Publication: Name: South African Journal of Surgery Publisher: South African Medical Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2008 South African Medical Association ISSN: 0038-2361
Issue: Date: May, 2008 Source Volume: 46 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics; 360 Services information Computer Subject: Company business management
Product: Product Code: 8010000 Medical Personnel; 8620000 Professional Membership Assns NAICS Code: 62 Health Care and Social Assistance; 81392 Professional Organizations SIC Code: 8621 Professional organizations
Geographic: Geographic Scope: South Africa Geographic Code: 6SOUT South Africa
Accession Number: 204550589
Full Text: The ASSA has expressed its concern, in a letter to T D Mseleku, director-general in the national Department of Health, over violence against junior medical staff in state hospitals, saying that this matter is not being addressed with the urgency it deserves and requesting that tangible efforts be shown to be made for the protection of all health care workers.

While the focus of the communication relates to junior medical staff, the same applies to all levels of employees working in state institutions.

Incidences of which the ASSA is aware include a violent assault on a junior doctor at Dora Nginza Hospital, Port Elizabeth, rape of a medical student at Chr is Hani Baragwanath Hospital, rape of an intern at Pretoria Academic Hospital, at least two attempted rapes at King Edward VIII Hospital, Durban, rape in the doctors' quarters at Port Shepstone Hospital and mugging of a registrar at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town.

The ASSA says it is also particularly concerned that such incidents of violence will add to the negative perception related to a career in medicine in South Africa. This is of particular concern in those specialties such as general surgery, where work is done in unfavourable circumstances and after hours.

In his response Mseleku said the department is fully aware of security problems in health facilities and regards the issue as a major concern. The heads of provincial health departments are also aware of these problems and have engagement at facility level to urgently address the safety of patients and staff.

Mseleku also encouraged the ASSA 'to share (with the department) ways and means of curbing these problems so that we can create an environment that is conducive for health professionals to practise medicine appropriately'.
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