It is unfair that public servants are forced to work in an unsafe environment
SECURITY will be stepped up at the New Brighton clinic following a fifth break-in at the facility in a month, the Eastern Cape Department of Health said last night – but the DA claimed that neither the panic buttons issued to nurses nor the alarm was working.
On all five occasions, thieves tried to steal copper pipes from the roof.
The facility was flooded each time and has now been closed for repairs.
Provincial health spokesman Siyanda Manana said a meeting was held on Wednesday, at which staff members raised their concerns over security.
“They were informed that additional security guards had been deployed to beef up security at the facility, fencing will be strengthened, and lighting at night has been improved, while repairs to the building are under way,” he said.
He said the fence around the facility had also been electrified.
“Community members requested a mobile clinic while the repairs are being done as they are tired of travelling to other clinics,” Manana said.
This had commenced operation.
Manana said the district management team extended their gratitude to the clinic staff members who diligently offered their services to the community during this difficult time.
“Other health facilities in the New Brighton area have also been affected by repeated burglaries, thereby severely compromising the safety of staff and patients,” he said.
“The department is planning a meeting with all stakeholders in the New Brighton area to enlist the community’s support in improving the safety of facilities, staff and patients.”
During the break-in on Monday night, shots were fired at unarmed security guards at the clinic.
The shadow MEC for health in the province, Celeste Barker, said: “The Department of Health attempted to assist staff by providing them with panic buttons at the New Brighton clinic, but neither the panic buttons nor the alarm are in working order.
“This certainly seems like a window-dressing exercise.
“It is unreasonable and unfair that public servants who play a crucial role in our communities by taking care of patients are forced to work in an unsafe environment.”