Thousands of nurses from the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) marched with National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) members to hand a memorandum to Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi, to demand better working conditions and facilities for health workers.
The Citizen reports that Denosa leaders, who were angered by Motsoaledi’s absence, read out the list of demands to chief nursing officer Dr Nonhlanhla Makhanya. General secretary Oscar Phaka said they were demanding that the department funds the required equipment and services. “We demand provision of basic equipment from credible and accredited service providers for workers to be able to render optimal care of the community. We demand development of standard equipment lists, which all facilities should adhere to, which could be accredited to provide services.”
The report says the union was also concerned there was a “drastic” shortage of staff although a multitude of qualified staff nurses and assistant nurses were looking for jobs. We demand that all vacant nursing posts be filled across all categories. We demand that more nurses be trained on advanced nursing care courses to be able to refer and treat high-risk patients.”
Phaka added that nurses were often reluctant to report assaults or threats against them, claiming their supervisors said violence “came with the territory”. He said: “Healthcare and community service workers are at increased risk of assaults because of increased violence in our society. We demand that government must, with immediate effect, de-tenderise security and hire permanent security personnel, train and equip them to man these facilities around the clock.”
Earlier this month, Denosa members marched to the SA Nursing Council offices in Pretoria to demand that it opens offices in all provinces after a nurse died travelling to the capital city to pay her nursing licence.
Nurses employed by the City of Johannesburg say, meanwhile, that they are forced to perform duties beyond their qualifications‚ putting people at risk, reports The Times. Nurses belonging to the Young Nurses Indaba downed tools recently‚ taking their complaints on salary disputes and working conditions to the South African Local Government Association (Salga).
The City of Johannesburg said it had received salary and remuneration-related complaints processed at the Salga bargaining council level.
Spokesperson for the Indaba, Lerato Madumo Gova said registered nurses working for the city had been forced to do the work of specialised nurses who diagnosed‚ treated patients and prescribed medication‚ duties they were not qualified to perform. Gova said employees unqualified as health care nurses were required to observe and copy the functions of specialised nurses‚ or refer to a manual for guidance.
“We are not licensed to dispense medication and conduct invasive procedures and this could result in our licenses as general nurses being revoked and‚ worst of all‚ it poses a danger to the public‚” said Gova. Gova said nurses with specialised qualifications were not paid in accordance with their qualifications.
The report says the Young Nurses Indaba‚ which had 50,000 members nationwide‚ said it had previously complained to the Nursing Council‚ to no avail.
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has announced a R4.3m budget allocation to extend the working hours of five clinics in the city‚ after the success of extended hours at Princess clinic in Roodepoort‚ in effect from October last year, the report says. The clinics will operate seven days a week. On week days they will be open from 6am to 10pm.