“South Africa could be facing a health-care worker crisis if the current and projected shortage of skilled health professionals is not addressed.”
This is a stark warning issued by the Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA), following the recent release of data around critical skills.
While the World Health Organization projects a worldwide workforce shortfall of about 18 million healthcare workers by 2030, recent local data showed that South Africa also has cause for concern.
According to Xpatweb’s Critical Skills Survey 2020/21 the “Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences“ are among the country’s current top 10 most in-demand skills.
General medical practitioners, registered nurses, hospital, retail and industrial pharmacists are all listed as critical skills which are in short supply.
HWSETA chief executive Elaine Brass said she believed that the Covid-19 pandemic had further compounded issues, making these skill shortages glaringly apparent.
“Health workers are among those who’ve been heralded as our national heroes during the pandemic. They have had to care for patients suffering from the virus, while fearing that they could fall ill too. We owe our support to those on the front line at this time. By addressing these skill shortages, we will be able to better support our health-care workers in the long run,” said Brass.
“The pandemic has fuelled public interest in the health-care system. Now is the time to have these tough conversations in order to attract more school-leavers to the sector, and to ultimately increase the workforce trained each year.”
HWSETA recently launched a career portal aimed at informing learners about how to pursue health, social development and veterinary-related careers in South Africa.
Brass said: “We are urging the youth to consider careers in the health, social development and veterinary sectors. A crucial part of achieving a skilled health-care workforce that meets the needs of South Africans is creating awareness among school-leavers about the exciting number of career opportunities that exist in these sectors.”
Those considering a career in these sectors can access the portal.