‘More nurses’ claim challenged

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Johannesburg - Nursing union Denosa has queried claims by Gauteng health authorities that more doctors and nurses were being recruited in the province.

“We are highly dismayed and disappointed that (the department) chose to misinform the public, as this is not true,” the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) said on Tuesday.

Gauteng health spokesman Simon Zwane was quoted in The Star on Tuesday as saying the department was “employing more doctors and nurses to reduce these incidents”.

He was responding to a judgment by the Johannesburg High Court, which found the department guilty of negligence.

Staff had given a woman the incorrect dose of labour-inducing pills and failed to monitor her when she was in labour. As a result, her baby was starved of oxygen and developed cerebral palsy.

Denosa said the department would continue finding itself paying for negligence claims as there were persistent staff shortage problems.

“Nurses and doctors continue working in bad conditions where they are understaffed, under-resourced and under pressure,” it said.

A total of 48 professional nurses were still earning community service salaries, while nine qualified nurses were still earning enrolled service salaries.

They had not been promoted to the appropriate posts as the department lacked funds, the organisation said.

Zwane insisted the department was recruiting more staff.

“That remains our intervention to reduce incidents of negligence,” he said.

In the last quarter, 144 nurses had been employed at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital alone.

The Charlotte Maxexe and Steve Biko hospitals were also employing more nurses.

In particular, hospitals were recruiting staff for intensive care units and specialised nurses such as midwives, he said. - Sapa


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