The Free State health department says it has increased security at Pelonomi Hospital in Bloemfontein following a meeting with staff on Wednesday afternoon.
Before the meeting, staff protested following the alleged attempted rape of a 24-year-old female doctor. The victim bit the man’s tongue so severely he required surgery.
The incident happened shortly before midnight on Tuesday.
Department spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said on Thursday that following the meeting with employees, calm was restored and everybody went back to work.
“We are aware that some of them are planning to picket today outside the hospital to highlight their concerns about safety at the hospital,” Mvambi said.
He said safety measures that were implemented from Wednesday included increased security personnel and CCTV monitoring.
Mvambi said all access points were fortified with visible security presence and added that doctors on call had been encouraged to use an escort service provided by hospital security.
These measures were not only designed for the safety of hospital personnel, but for everyone who came to the hospital, he said.
A hospital intern, who was working when the alleged incident happened, said a colleague was sexually assaulted in the doctors’ call rooms.
She said there was a lack of prioritisation of security for health-care workers, adding that public hospitals had “zero security presence” at night.
She said interns were the most affected.
“We spend the night going to the lab, blood bank, following up results in different wards. We literally run at night from place to place, not knowing who or what is lurking in the corner.”
Mvambi said the department would visit the hospital again on Thursday to monitor the situation.