Victims Traumatised

Article excerpt

BYLINE: AZIZ HARTLEY

THE GF Jooste Hospital, which treats up to 10 000 patients a month, is battling crime, with patients robbing visitors, visitors robbing patients, and staff under threat.

"This hospital is in a high crime area and safety has become a big challenge. We really need the community's help," senior medical superintendent Ahmed Adam said this week.

"We can't always differentiate between patients and non-patients. People posing as patients or visitors come in to do their thing."

Staff had also become vulnerable to attacks and robberies after shift changes, particularly in winter. Some were so traumatised they needed counselling, Adam said.

Acting Ward 3 manager Pumla Siyo said she had been robbed several times on her way to work and on one occasion had a gun held to her head.

"Last time, two men robbed me of my rings and cellphone. They swore at me and searched me all over. I use to walk to work from Guguletu, but I had to buy a car. I became so traumatised after one of our colleagues was shot," Siyo said.

Lucky Leteze, a nurse, said money and car keys had been stolen last month from a staff member who left her bag in the office.

Hospital Board member Patricia Minnaar said: "They come in during visiting times when access is easy. They pretend to visit a patient in a ward, but end up in another ward. There is security at the gates, but they should patrol at all times. More surveillance cameras will also be a good idea."

Minnaar's colleague, Jasmine Cloete, said: "Staff are doing an excellent job and do not deserve to be treated this way.

"The hospital is here to serve and be part of the community. …