The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal is unhappy with the slow pace in how the Department of Health is moving in dealing with the critical regulations to curb the rising infection rate amongst healthcare workers in the province.
It is disturbing and disappointing that while we were confronted by COVID-19 since March 2020, until this date there is no workable plan on human resources, infrastructure, prioritization of patients, confusion about what type of leave our members should take when infected by the virus and to protect vulnerable employees and clear plans on psychological support.
DENOSA in KwaZulu-Natal wishes to urge our members to refuse to resume duties post- isolation or quarantine until employer provide psychological support to our members before resuming duty to deal with traumatic COVID-19 fears and stigmatization of our members.
Furthermore, we demand that the Department of Health review and clarify the confusion about the type of leave that our members are to sign after testing positive, as well as to lead by example and put the food where their mouth is by stopping the rhetoric about health workers being important but refuse to attend to their needs.
“We demand an HR plan of the department that will ensure that when nurses are in isolation or quarantine, overtime or moonlighting is approved without forcing our members to be overburdened by the workload while their colleagues are in isolation and quarantine,” says DENOSA KZN Provincial Secretary, Mandla Shabangu.
DENOSA has written to the office of the Head of Department to get answers on the following not later than 8 August 2020:
1. A clearly defined plan of Human Resource, to do moonlighting or overtime in all institutions with nurses in isolation or quarantine;
2. We demand a clear circular or Standard Operation and Procedure (SOP) on psychological support of our members before reporting back to work after testing positive;
3. We demand a clear policy or circular about precautionary measures taken by the department to reduce exposure of our members with comorbidities from infections from COVID-19.
4. We demand that all institutions present proof of having OHS and EAP practitioners in place in all facilities.
5. We demand that all institutions provide all nurses with N95 masks even if they are not working in designated COVID-19 units as it is clear that all wards are becoming COVID infected.
6. We demand that COVID-19 tests for healthcare workers be prioritized to reduce turn-around time for our members to get results at least three days after testing, unlike what is happening now where our members wait up to two weeks for results exposing other health workers at work.
7. We demand that student nurses be given the gadgets like laptops that will assist them with their learning in this current environment, because they are being disadvantaged greatly in their progress due to non-provision of these.
We believe that the department will not ignore these concerns because they are at the centre of failing or winning the fight against COVID-19.
We will be waiting for a detailed response from the Head of Department in KZN, failing which we will escalate our issues to the next level within the Department of Health.
Issued by DENOSA in KwaZulu-Natal
For more information, contact:
Mandla Shabangu, Provincial Secretary
Cell: 071 643 3369
Tel: 031 305 1417