Johannesburg - The nursing union Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) in Limpopo said it is gravely disappointed by the termination of contracts for the 706 nurses by the Limpopo Department of Health effective July 1, 2023.
This is in the midst of a gross shortage of nurses and other health-care workers in various facilities in the province.
“The termination of contracts came at a time when the Department of Health is in the process of opening clinics to provide 24 hour services to allow community members to access health services considering that the province is predominantly rural,” according to Denosa provincial chairperson, Lesiba Monyaki.
“The termination of 706 nurses on July 1, 2023, will aggravate the shortage following the loss of 230 post-community service nurses to other provinces in March 2023.”
"The Department of Health failed to appoint 170 professional nurses following interviews in March 2023, where potential candidates were selected by the panel, and Denosa was an observer in the process."
“The departure of these nurses forces some of the hospitals to allocate Enrolled Nurses (lower category nurses) to manage the wards, which contravenes their jobdescription and Scope of Practice as they require them to work under direct supervision of Professional Nurses,” said Monyaki.
He went on to say these shortages will continue to overstretch and expose nurses to the risk of being unable to discharge their responsibilities in accordance with nursing prescriptions, including their job descriptions and scope of practice, as some wards and clinics are managed by two nurses responsible for around 30 patients.
“Denosa wants to caution the Department of Health to stop and refrain from opening clinics to provide 24-hour services, which are not in compliance with the Policy on Provision of 24 Hours in Clinics.”
“Denosa further calls upon the Department of Health to stop allocating Enrolled Nurses and Enrolled Nursing Assistants to manage the wards without the direct supervision of Professional Nurses following the termination of nurses’ contracts on July 1, 2023, in the hospitals, which include Kgapane Hospital.”
“Denosa advises the nurses to refrain from over-stretching themselves and to work within their scope of practice,” said Monyaki.
“Denosa calls upon the Department of Health to appoint nurses following the conclusion of interviews in March 2023, as per Circular 63 of 2022.
“Denosa will also report institutions that continue to violate nursing and health prescripts to the South African Nursing Council (SANC) and the Office of Health Standard Compliance (OHSC) and will also request that they conduct inspections in the clinics and hospitals in the province,” said Monyaki.