South Africa has a shortage of 80,000 Professional Nurses.
This is according to the Democratic Alliance (DA) which claims that it has reliable information to substantiate the assertion above.
The party said it learnt of the alarming news from ” a senior confidential source part of the professional nursing community.”
To DA, the consequence of the massive shortage has deeply compromised patient care.
Highlighting that the new figure is approximately double the estimated shortage of 44,780 identified in 2010 by the Department of Health. DA said:
“Research shows that a critical mass of PNs in hospitals reduces the risks of patients dying by 8 percent and significantly cuts the incidence of urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal bleeding, hospital-acquired pneumonia, shock and cardiac arrests. Indeed, a high concentration of PNs is associated with up to 12 per cent a drop in adverse clinical outcomes.
South Africa is not educating enough professional nurses. In fact, the number of nurses trained has tanked. The reasons for this are complex, but it is principally a consequence of poor planning, under-funding, under-staffing of the licensing authorities and shockingly poor coordination between the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Department of Health (DOH) and the South African Nursing Council (SANC).
South Africa has always relied on the private and public sectors to train our nurses. However, because the licensing authorities (SANC in particular) have been slow to re-license private sector colleges for a new nursing qualifications regime, those not affiliated with large healthcare companies such as Netcare, Mediclinic and Life have been forced to shrink their staff and some have shut down because they cannot take in new students.”
Afterwards, the party expressed that the current licensing process is designed for paralysis.
“The bureaucratic barriers to the rapid re-licensing of private nursing colleges that meet national requirements should be removed at once and an accelerated approval process – a properly staffed one-stop licensing agency – set in place.
“With our unemployment crisis, it is a national imperative that barriers to human resource development should be removed urgently,” stated DA
Ultimately, the opposition party blamed the ANC government for not invested in skilling South Africans in the health domain.
That’s “why our hospitals are broken, clinics are understaffed, patients have to wait in long lines to be helped and patient care compromised. Considering that the second largest chunk of our national budget is spent on health, this sector should not be in the dire straits it is,” DA asserted.