From our perspective as DENOSA, this is a silent intent to retrench the post-community service nurses, which is going against the very spirit of improving healthcare service to communities, because the current poor services are caused by shortage of staff in the main. As trade unions, we are not happy with this mischief which is guised as having been caused by lack of funding.
As is always the case, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, the biggest provinces in the country with the greatest vacancy rates, are the first provinces to show poor planning by failing to retain those nurses who have completed their year of community service, citing budgetary constraints.
Gauteng Department of Health, the province with more than 13 million people (plus millions of unaccounted immigrants), has not been awakened by consequences of its previous poor HR planning as it is refusing to employ nurses who have completed their community service. Instead, the Department is offering them unsustainable employment contracts.
Moreover, Gauteng has reduced numbers of students who are going to do the 4 years diploma course at its three colleges this year whereas even the previous number of more than 300 students per college was never enough.
When the MEC for Health in Limpopo welcomed medical officers who have been appointed recently, she apportioned that success to the economic stimulus package. We hope the MEC will take advantage of the stimulus package and ensure that nurses are not retrenched.
DENOSA appeals to the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi to intervene in provinces that have gone rogue because their actions currently are inviting poorer healthcare services to patients when a solution, in the form fully-qualified nurses, is right under their noses.
Not employing nurses will also work against the realization of NHI because nurses are supposed to play a pivotal role in strengthening the provision of primary healthcare services.