Students nurses stage sit-in over Community Service Practitioner Nurses employment
Cape Town - Scores of nurses affiliated to the provincial Denosa Student Movement staged a sit-in at the health department offices on Tuesday over non-absorption of over 130 Community Service Practitioner Nurses (CSPN) by the department.
The CSPNs completed their community service programme at various health care facilities in the province last month.
The movement demanded the employment of these nurses in permanent positions, decent living conditions of nursing homes and hostels and the effective implementation of the department's bursary recipient’s contractual agreement.
Denosa Student Movement provincial secretary Fanny Ferris said prior to the completion date, they contacted the department and were informed that 109 posts were reserved for CSPN’s, dependent on funds availability.
Ferris said, to date, only 11 posts have been filled while 119 newly-qualified nurses were unemployed.
“We don't understand that there is a shortage of healthcare professionals within the healthcare system during the pandemic, and with the third wave upon us, while they don’t want to employ nurses. There is a greater need, but that is never acknowledged by the department.
“The unhappiness is that the rest of the multi-disciplinary team (doctors, physiotherapist and radiographers) which the nurses form part of, got employed on February 1, but nurses are discriminated against,” she said.
Ferris said they will continue with the sit-in until the department employs the nurses by March 1.
Ferris said some of the living conditions at the nursing homes and hostels were vile.
“The condition of the rooms is not conducive, there's broken windows, toilets that won't lock, the sense of security is not there. One of the amenities that is not being provided to nurses is basic laundry facilities which makes it impossible to wash our uniforms. This has had a ripple effect on the nurses, mentally, the people are falling into depression,” she said.
Health department spokesperson Mark Van Der Heever said the department was mindful that limited funding was available and only vacant funded posts can be filled on a permanent basis.
“The Community Service Nurses were, however, only available after completion of their community service, and appointments could not be done before 1 February 2021.
“According to our information as at 26 January 2021, 104 posts have been reserved on Persal for professional nurses completing Community Service on 31 January 2021.
“Further information will be available once the recruitment and selection processes have been finalised and the appointment on Persal has been implemented,” he said.
Van Der Heever said the department had previously communicated to the body, and will again study their memorandum and will give feedback to them.