The government’s actions in shutting down a DA-sponsored parliamentary motion to discuss the looming nursing crisis indicates it has no plan to fix the problem, claims the official opposition.
Madeleine Hicklin, DA MP says: “I will be writing to the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, requesting that he issues a detailed public statement explaining how his Department will expedite the stalled process of accrediting new and current training nursing institutions countrywide as mandated by Section 17 of the Nursing Act 33 of 2005.
“On Tuesday 17 September the ANC objected to my motion without notice calling on the Health Minister, Dr Mkhize, to give clarity on the slow pace of nursing colleges accreditation. The current basic and post-basic nursing legacy programmes being provided by accredited institutions ends on 31 December 2019, rendering these institutions unable to continue training in 2020.
“The lethargic accreditation process poses a clear and present danger on nurse throughput and the sustainability of our primary healthcare system as we know it. If nothing is done to speed up the accreditation process, nursing institutions will be unable to provide critical programmes in peri-operative, intensive care unit, trauma, midwifery, neonatal intensive and paediatric care.
“It is puzzling how the ANC government intends to achieve its NHI target of 1:40 staff:patient ratio when it has clearly shown that it is not willing or committed to finding an urgent solution to the nursing crisis.
“The reality is that, the current staff:patient ratio of 1:1000 will only get worse if the non-accreditation of centres of higher education for nursing in 2020 is not addressed. Should Dr Mkhize continue burying his head in the sand on this issue, projections are that there will be a nursing deficit of 400 000 by 2025, when NHI is expected to be fully implemented.”