South African army is brought in to defend hospitals

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 25 August 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c4639
  1. Pat Sidley
  1. 1Johannesburg

    South African troops have been deployed to 37 hospitals around the country as healthcare workers continue their increasingly bitter strike over pay.

    Defence forces and outside medical teams have been sent in to help keep emergency services open and defend staff and patients in a dispute that has seen police shoot rubber bullets at striking staff. Protestors have blockaded hospitals, preventing patients and those doctors and nurses still working from entering.

    More than 1.3 million civil servants have been striking for nearly two weeks, with healthcare workers and teachers making up the bulk of the strikers. Doctors are not officially on strike. Public sector unions are united in their anger at what they see as the government’s continuing neglect of their work.

    The strike has seen a virtual shutdown of services at …

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