National 13.8.2016 12:51 am

‘Protect our nurses, or patients are on their own’

Picture: Gallo Images

Picture: Gallo Images

Nurses’ union says it won’t wait for one of its members to be murdered in KZN before demanding action.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) in KwaZulu-Natal has threatened to withdraw all its members in areas where their safety is no longer guaranteed as soon as all “red flag” areas are collated and if nothing is done to protect travelling nurses by the end of August.

This follows the hijacking, robbery and abandonment of three nurses in the bush while on their way from an outreach programme at Bhiliya earlier this week.

According to the organisation, the vehicle in which the nurses were travelling was stopped by hijackers in the Ntambanana area in Empangeni.

Two assailants robbed the nurses of their belongings, including cellphones, wallets and jewelry, and drove them to an isolated area where two other hijackers assisted in offloading the health equipment before leaving the nurses in the middle of the bush. Denosa said that one of the nurses managed to avoid being raped by telling the attackers that she was suffering from a chronic health condition.

“Denosa had issued this stern warning early this year and, in the absence of any concrete action from the employer, we are left with no other option but to collate a list of facilities that are not safe for our members to work in, and pull them out of danger while they are still alive.”

The organisation believes that criminals are targeting departmental vehicles, as more than 11 of these vehicles have been hijacked in the past few months.

“We won’t allow any nurse to die first before the seriousness of this issue is noticed and acted upon by the employer,” said Denosa provincial secretary Cassim Lekhoathi. The association is demanding that the state provide a safe working environment with immediate effect.

“Failure to do that by the end of August, we will be left with no option but to withdraw our members from all these facilities which are red-flagged.”

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