Private hospitals have appealed to the SA Nursing Council (SANC) to allow them to train more nurses, warning that the decision to restrict numbers threatens the pipeline of future nurses. Business Day reports that the move to restrict numbers also undermines a proposal tabled by the Hospital Association of SA (Hasa) at the Presidential Jobs Summit in 2019 that the sector train 50,000 nurses over the next eight years to help tackle South Africa’s critical shortage of healthcare professionals.
Hasa is the key industry association for private hospitals and counts South Africa’s three biggest hospital groups – JSE-listed Netcare, Mediclinic and Lifehealthcare – among its members. “We need to maintain a meaningful supply of highly skilled nurses in order to avert a future calamity in healthcare,” said Hasa spokesperson Mark Peach.
While the lion’s share of South Africa’s nurses are trained at public nursing colleges and universities, private hospitals have historically played a significant role too. Nursing training institutions are required to get approval from multiple bodies – the Council for Higher Education, the SA Nursing Council, and the SA Qualifications Authority, as well as the department of higher education & training, before they can begin training nurses on a curriculum for new qualifications, which kicks in from January.
No institutions will be allowed to enrol students for the current qualifications after the end of December. Peach said private hospitals were being permitted to register far fewer students than they had applied to train in 2020.Business Day report