MBOMBELA – The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Mpumalanga held its normal Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting at the Cycad Lodge in Mbombela from the 07th to the 8th of December 2023, where it engaged on various healthcare matters that affect both nursing and nurses in the province.
The PEC sat a few weeks before the festive activities start, which the PEC raised a concern as the festive season comes with lots of motor vehicle incidents and safety concerns in health care facilities, especially those in hot spot areas. The matters that were discussed by the PEC are as follows:
On Health and Safety:
Noting previous attacks on nurses at healthcare facilities and the recent attack at Barberton Hospital, the PEC is reminded that the festive season has always been accompanied by attacks of employees by criminals who often force their entry to facilities. This act has put our members at risk and has violated their rights to work in a safe working environment.
The PEC therefore calls on the Department of Health in Mpumalanga to prepare a contingency plan that will talk directly to their safety. The PEC further resolved that they will not allow any of DENOSA members to work in an environment that is not safe for them.
On low numbers for skills development and training of nurses:
After receiving a presentation by the Department of Health on Nursing Education in the province, the PEC has noted with disappointment that even in the year 2024 the Mpumalanga Department of Health will train only 70 students into the R171 programme, of which 35 will be taken internally. The small number of nurses to be trained is a huge concern as it does not address the issue of shortage of nurses in the province.
DENOSA believes that the Department is contributing to this dire shortage as they continuously fail to complete the sub campuses that must be accredited by the South African Nursing Council (SANC) and Council of Higher Education (CHE).
DENOSA would like to remind the Department that it is obligated to develop their employees as per the Skills Development Act 97 of 1998, which the department has clearly failed to implement for the past years. That is why the province is having over 2000 nurses who are Enrolled Nurses (ENs) and Enrolled Nursing Assistants (ENAs) who are still awaiting to be enrolled for further education, but with the slow pace of accreditation this can take longer. DENOSA calls on the department to fast-track all the sub campuses to be ready for accreditation by both the South African Nursing Council (SANC) and Council on Higher Education (CHE).
On Translation of Nurses:
DENOSA notes with concern the continuous exploitation of nurses by the the Department of Health, which has trained over 200 nurses since 2021 from being ENs and ENAs to Professional Nurses but fails to pay them for the work they now perform and as per their registration with the South African Nursing Council (SANC). DENOSA sees this act by the department as a sign of undermining nurses and exploiting them by using the phrase “lack of funds” meanwhile they do the work of Professional nurses.
Noting the mid term budget, DENOSA calls on the department to do the right things and pay the nurses what is due to them before they call on all nurses who are not translated to withdraw their labour and work as Enrolled Nurses.
Noting that the load shedding has become the new norm in South Africa, as DENOSA we had thought that the Department would have also maintained all their generators and make sure all facilities have adequate diesel as a backup. But we have noted the failure to maintain or supply diesel for Back up generators, which has led to Nurses to work in the dark during load shedding and put the life of patients at risk.
DENOSA would like to remind the department that having electricity is their responsibility and they should ensure all the resources are provided.
DENOSA calls on the department to make sure all facilities have functional backup generators, and that failure to do so leaves nurses unable to care for patients optimally during load shedding.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in Mpumalanga.
For more information, contact:
Linah Jiyane, DENOSA Mpumalanga Provincial Chairperson.
Mobile: 072 564 0327.