Medical students to return to Pelonomi Hospital after security beefed up

The University of the Free State (UFS) yesterday said medical students would return to Pelonomi Hospital following their engagements with the health department over safety measures.

The university’s rector and vice-chancellor, Professor Francis Petersen, said they had agreed on immediate and medium-term safety and security measures which would at least ensure its students and other personnel, as well as patients, were safe.

This after the training of medical students from the university was suspended following an alleged attempted rape of an intern doctor and an apparent armed robbery of another doctor last week.

In the first incident, a 24-year-old doctor bit off a man’s tongue as he allegedly attempted to rape her while she was in one of the overnight staff quarters last Tuesday.

ALSO READ: Doctor bites off man’s tongue during attempted rape at Bloemfontein hospital

The second incident was on Saturday morning, when a 44-year-old female doctor reported she was robbed at gunpoint by four armed men.

Addressing the media yesterday, Petersen confirmed that medical students would return to Pelonomi and that immediate interventions, which include beefed-up security, more CCTV cameras, fixed security locks and limited access control to the premises, would be put in place.

Petersen said they were still in talks with the department and the South African Police Service on other measures that needed to be taken to tighten up security at the hospital.

He added that the safety of students remained crucial and that they would assist in any way they could. He said all students affected by the two incidents were receiving trauma counselling.

Department spokesperson Mondli Mvambi said they welcomed strides made by all stakeholders in this case and that the department would continue making efforts to ensure that all staff and patients were protected at all times.

“What is key is that everybody in the hospital environment must feel safe and secure and that is the responsibility of the state. We are executing that responsibility in consultation with all stakeholders,” said Mvambi.

OFM News

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.