Home News New health professionals ponder leaving Province over non-payment

New health professionals ponder leaving Province over non-payment

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As the Northern Cape Department of Health battles to address the shortage of medical professionals in the Province, some newly-appointed staff members are contemplating leaving the Province due to the non-payment of salaries.

File picture: Pixabay

AS THE Northern Cape Department of Health battles to address the shortage of medical professionals in the Province, some newly-appointed staff members are contemplating leaving the Province due to the non-payment of salaries.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) in the Northern Cape said that new health professionals in the Pixley ka Seme District, including nurses, operational managers, doctors and pharmacists, have not received their salaries since they were appointed in June.

Denosa’s provincial secretary, Anthony Vassen, said it is worrisome that health professionals who are assisting the department in addressing the challenge of staff shortages are left with no income to meet their daily expenses.

“Many of the professionals are from other parts of the country and not from the Northern Cape. The Department of Health has made a huge public announcement and boasted about the appointment of hundreds of additional staff. The newly-appointed staff were placed at various facilities across the Province. However, despite this huge announcement, the department has now failed the staff because they have not received any salaries for the past two months. We are now entering a new month and there is still no indication on how the department is resolving this matter,” said Vassen.

He said many health professionals have indicated that they were not able to meet their daily expenses over the past couple of months.

“This is embarrassing because now professionals have to beg and borrow money from family or friends and even financial lending institutions just to stay alive. Some have to pay rent and have other responsibilities back home they have to meet. How does one explain having a job but yet not being able to pay for your daily expenses?

“The cost of living is very high and some of the staff members are expected to be at work daily. How does one make it to work when you do not even have petrol in your car or even food to eat?”

Vassen accused the department of not having any respect for the needs of its staff and having no sense of urgency regarding the great need for medical staff in the Province.

“Denosa had several engagements with the department regarding the fact that there were no services rendered in some facilities in the Siyancuma and Siyathemba districts due to zero staff being available in those areas. The shortage of staff has resulted in community unrest. Now that staff have been recruited, the same department is dismissing them by not paying their salaries,” he said.

A newly-appointed professional nurse said she has been contemplating packing her bags and leaving the Province.

“We have been without any income since June. I am not sure whether this situation will get better as we are now in August. I moved here in hope of better prospects, however, this has been a nightmare,” she said.

“I moved from the Western Cape and am now seriously considering going back home. There are many opportunities for nurses on that side. It will not be a hassle to get employment. I moved to the Northern Cape because I wanted to make a change in my profession and to assist in the plight. However, I have been at the mercy of my family who had to send me money these past months.

“I also now have a bad credit record because I had to change due to there not being a branch of the bank I banked at. This Province is very vast and does not have as many resources as the bigger cities. I am now living in a small town and have to make use of the limited resources. I have been battling the urge to pack my bags and go back home.

“Hopefully this matter gets resolved soon and there will be no need for me to resign and go back,” she added.

Northern Cape Department of Health spokesperson Lebogang Majaha said the department is looking into the matter.

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