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THE STAR England’s drive to recruit international nursing staff slammed South African unions have slammed the renewed and vigorous drive by England to recruit thousands of nurses to boost manpower in their hospitals. The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South African (Denosa) has urged government to retain nurses before more are lost to the UK. This followed a report that was released in the UK on the severe shortage of nurses in England and the advice from policy experts that managers of hospitals should personally fly to low and middle income countries to actively recruit nurses to work in the National Health Service (NHS) in England. Denosa president Simon Hlungwani said: “We would like to urge the National Department of Health (NDoH) to put in place, urgently, a staff retention plan before South African nurses leave for England in large numbers, which will further hurt the country’s own National Health Insurance (NHI) plan.” He said the department’s staff retention that was in the form of occupation-specific dispensation (OSD) for nurses from 2007, had long lapsed, therefore there was no other plan to discourage nurses from leaving the country. Hlungwani said: “When OSD was implemented in July 2007, within six months 12000 nurses had returned to the country and within a year the rate of job applications by South African nurses to the UK had dropped by almost 80%.” Department spokesperson Popo Maja said there was nothing they could do about the recruitments. “This has happened before, it’s not new. It is one’s decision to stay in the country or leave. We are not in a position to stop them,” said Maja. Hlungwani added that their concern about the report was that it threatens to worsen the South African shortage of nurses and thus the quality of healthcare service. “The increase in the effort of recruiting nurses by England will make it easy for local nurses to leave for greener pastures because the conditions they work under in South Africa are extremely poor and demotivating, to say the least,” Hlungwani said. According to UK-based website Prospects, the salaries for fully qualified nurses to more senior levels such as nurse advanced, modern matron and nurse consultant start from R30338 to R94892 per month. It has been reported that assistant nurses in SA earned about R95000 per annum in 2016. Qualifying nurses without employment said they appreciate Denosa’s effort to resolve the issue. However, they said they would seize the opportunity to go and work in the UK because of the unemployment rate in South Africa. “I don’t see any reason for me to be here. My parents sent me to school to get an education so I can at least get employment. But that didn’t help. I only worked for a year at a healthcare centre and my contract was never renewed. I do apply at clinics and hospitals but because I don’t have money to bribe for employment, I am at home doing nothing,” said 32-year-old Zandile Masoka, a qualified professional nurse. Enrolled nurse Sibongile Malaai, 46, said she had to settle for counsellor jobs as she never got employment for her qualification. “I was later told that there was no money to pay me and retrenched. I am still unemployed. When you go to a clinic, you find that only two nurses are on duty, and when you ask why, they tell you that there is a shortage of staff while we are sitting at home with qualifications,” Malaai said. The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) national spokesperson Khaya Xaba echoed Denosa’s sentiments. “Our nurses should not leave South Africa because already there is a shortage of them in the Health Department,” Xaba said. He said the public health service is understaffed, leading to patient complaints about ill-treatment. “There is a situation where one nurse does the job of three nurses. We have been calling for the government for the filling of vacancies in public service facilities. And we also appeal to our government to ensure that they look into the conditions of the facilities and salaries of the employees to avoid the loss of our nurses to the UK.”
Created at 2019/04/01 11:08 AM by Mediclinic
Last modified at 2019/04/01 11:08 AM by Mediclinic