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NC has the least nurses in the country

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The Public Servants Association (PSA) said the Northern Cape had the highest nursing vacancy rate in the country.

Nurses marched to the Premier’s Office on International Nurses Day to highlight deplorable working conditions and staff shortages. Picture Danie van der Lith

THE Public Servants Association (PSA) said the Northern Cape had the highest nursing vacancy rate in the country.

PSA assistant general manager Reuben Maleka stated that the Northern Cape had a 46 percent vacancy rate followed by the Free State with 25, 3 percent.

“The national vacancy rate is 13, 7 percent representing posts that are not being filled which is straining the country’s healthcare sector.”

He urged government to invest in the nursing sector to prevent healthcare workers from leaving public service or the country in search of better opportunities and remuneration.

“The Minister of Health further confirmed that South Africa’s public hospitals have a shortage of 10,000 nurses. The Minister blamed this on budget cuts by national Treasury to cut costs in the public service.

“The Covid-19 pandemic laid bare the many weaknesses in the health sector. These include nurses being exposed to the virus without adequate protection, attacks by the public, high workloads, unsafe work environments, inadequate infrastructure, and little support. These realities are of even more concern as the country awaits the implementation of the national health insurance scheme that will require government to fill critical posts and offer a reliable service.”

Maleka pointed out that nurses were driven to seek other job opportunities as they felt undervalued and under-compensated.

“The nursing profession is characterised by compassion, but is suffering owing to ineffective leadership, poor administration, and poor planning.

“This situation is increasingly impacting on nurses’ health and morale. Investing in nursing will not only boost the morale of these workers but will also attract young people to this profession to ensure sustainable service delivery. Empowering these professionals will lead to improved service delivery for all citizens,” he added.

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