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Mediclinic News : Dire shortage of nurses nationwide

Title

Dire shortage of nurses nationwide

Date

2017-02-08

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News Description

CAPE ARGUS Cape Town – There's a glaring shortage of nurses nationwide, nursing union Denosa (The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa) has said, due to apparent technical failure of IT systems at the South African Nursing Council which is holding up the issuing of licences to new nurses. Denosa is due to march on the council's offices on February 22 to demand action. Vice-chairperson of the South African Medical Association (Sama) Dr Mark Sonderup said the shortage affected specialised departments in hospitals such as intensive care units (ICU) across the country. The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) said the council had a failed e-register system which had been out of order for some time. This was behind the delay in issuing new licences. But the council said the system had recently been upgraded, updating first weekly, and recently, daily. But the unions and professional associations say there is still a backlog which is severely affecting hospitals and operations at clinics in rural areas, where nursing services are most needed. “We are fully behind Denosa in their call for addressing the issues of licensing for nurses as the situation of staffing levels is one which needs to be addressed,” Sonderup said. Denosa provincial secretary Danver Roman said the shortage of nurses was a result of internal and external immigration by caregivers in search of better employment; the National Health Department facing financial difficulties which in turn reduced the number of nursing vacancies; and the decline in the number of nurses being trained as compared to previous years. “There are many factors impacting on the issue of the nurses and with the burden of diseases increasing, it is becoming more complex." “We are faced with people coming in and out of the country to get treatment, and... the challenge of treating different illnesses, it puts more pressure on the available staff in health facilities, which also causes a battle for them to reach many patients,” he said. Nehawu’s Khaya Xaba said further action should be taken against the council for the shortage of nurses. “This issue has been happening for a long time. We do think maybe we should explore the legal route in order to put pressure on the council to issue licences. We have a huge backlog.” But the council’s acting registrar, Sizeni Mchunu, refuted the charges of having a dysfunctional system: “The Sanc has identified the need to overhaul its IT system in order to ensure that it renders functions that are commensurate with today’s demands. It has already begun a system transformation service to improve services to nurses,” she said. Xaba said the shortage mostly affected clinics and rural areas. “As a country we are not producing enough nurses. We call for the closed nursing colleges to reopen because the institutes that do exist now are ‘fly by nights’ that do not equip students with the relevant knowledge and skills needed in the work market.” Meanwhile, the Western Cape Health Department said the council’s alleged non-functional e-register system did not have an impact on health facilities in the province. Zimkhita Mquteni, spokesperson for provincial health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo, said: “Sanc’s registration process has not impacted on the number of nurses practising within our health facilities as we only have a 4% vacancy rate.”
Created at 2017/02/16 02:58 PM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2017/02/16 02:58 PM by Mediclinic