Massive nursing shortage in Gauteng leaves sick patients even more vulnerable

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The Gauteng Health Department has revealed that there is a dangerously large nursing shortage at hospitals in the province. Now, questions are being asked as to how the crisis is potentially leading to an increased number of deaths.

Gauteng Health Department and the ‘Critical” nursing shortage

While the country and local health industry experts are up in arms over the pending National Health Insurance (NHI), Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa has revealed worrying provincial details.

Ramokgopa was speaking at a nurses Seminar Round Table Discussion on Friday when she explained that the province is operating on a staff establishment based on the provincial population of 2006, when there were 4.8 million fewer people.

DA Shadow Gauteng Health MEC, Jack Bloom, points out that since then, the population of Gauteng as has risen to 14.2m.

This situation has been worsened by a circular to hospitals directing them to fill only 50% of vacant funded posts occupied by retired, resigned and deceased nursing personnel.

“I am horrified by Ramokgopa’s admission that these circumstances ‘led to nursing managers allocating unskilled nursing personnel to attend to patients in critical areas.’ This is extremely irresponsible and raises the risk of medical negligence.”

Ramokgopa also confirmed that the department “does not have an approved organizational structure for the review period 2014-19.”

Bloom says the 50% unfilled policy is crude and putting a further strain on hospital staff.

In terms of the NHI, Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi raised eyebrows last week as he published a bill for comment.

Read – National Health Insurance fund will be “mandatory”, health care “free when accessed”

According to the Minister, the NHI fund will be mandatory to every South African that can afford to pay into it.

With the goal of NHI being to provide free quality health care for all, the plan is set to be run like a massive state-run medical aid.

While it sounds great, the age-old question of “where is the money going to come from?” keeps popping up. The Minister says that “is for Treasury to work out”.

Article by:By Nic Andersen

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