Tuesday, 16 April, 2024
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Nursing council denies preventing private hospitals from training nurses

The South African Nursing Council (SANC) has said accusations that it restricted private hospitals from training nurses “were factually incorrect, untrue and irresponsible”, after backlash from a two-day Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA) conference last week.

This, the conference heard, undermined a HASA proposal tabled at the Presidential Jobs Summit in 2018 that the private sector needs 50,000 nurses to help tackle the country's critical shortage of healthcare professionals.

SANC spokesperson Sizeni Mchunu hit back at Netcare nursing education executive Toy Vermaak’s statement that the SANC slashed the hospital’s annual intake without reason a few years ago.

“Vermaak intentionally omits critical information she is well aware of relating to the changes in the nursing education and training as informed by overall changes in the higher education landscape. She is also aware of the rationale and reasons for such determinations,” she said.

Netcare group director human resources and transformation Nceba Ndzwayiba told News24 Vermaak was nominated by the HASA nursing sub-board committee to speak on their behalf at the conference.

He said Netcare shared HASA’s views that there was an opportunity for private and public health resources to help build nursing skills at the rate required to fulfill the country's demand.

Ndzwayiba said: “The shared industry perspective reflects a clear need for nurses to be trained in greater numbers, and to gain specialised skills and experience. These are critical skills, necessary for growing the capacity needed to provide quality healthcare for South Africans.”

HASA spokesperson Mark Peach said the private sector had the capacity to train more nurses without compromising quality. “The reduced private sector intake of trainee nurse numbers over the past few years because of training reforms, institutional and programme accreditations, and moratoria on nurse education and training, has exacerbated an existing nurse skills shortage,” he said.

He said if the SANC removed trainee nurse quotas, the “sector can help alleviate the pressure on nurse numbers that is reflected in the amended Critical Skills List”.

Africa Health 2022 conference organiser Cynthia Makarutse said South Africa has a serious problem with the training and retention of healthcare workers. Since 2017, there has been a 61% increase in medical graduates starting public hospital internships.

She said: “This year alone, some 2 500 new doctors, nurses, pharmacists, interns and community service personnel have joined the HCW (healthcare worker) workforce. But provincial Health Department budgets have not kept pace with their number and public facilities find they are unable to absorb the new doctors.”

The under-resourced public sector, inadequate training programmes, and the backlog in accreditation for training institutions, dating as far back as 2015, were just some of the obstacles faced by aspiring doctors and nurses. There was also an urgent need to increase the training capacity for nurses, she added.


News24 article – Nursing council hits back at claims it prevented private hospitals from training nurses (Open access)


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Nursing Council resists training of new nurses, despite dire shortage, HASA conference told


SA’s doctor shortage has worsened substantially in past 3 years


Surgery catch-up stymied by South Africa’s shortage of ICU nurses


Medical posts added to revised Critical Skills List – finally




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