Health pickets Day 3 – How the DA would solve the staff shortage crisis
Patricia Kopane, Shadow Minister of Health
31 May 2012
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is calling for the Eastern Cape and Limpopo Health Departments to overhaul their staffing structures in order to appoint more medical professionals.
DA activists in Polokwane and Bisho are dedicating the protests today toward a sustainable long-term solution to the shortage of medical professionals in these provinces.
Health departments in both provinces are struggling under the weight of bloated bureaucracies that are eating up the money needed to appoint nurses in public hospitals and clinics.
Limpopo’s vacancy rate for nurses is close to 50% while in the Eastern Cape over 16 000 professional nurse vacancies exist. Both departments have blown their salary budgets on staffing structures that are not biased toward employing professionals who can actually heal people.
Where the DA governs, we have reached a point where nurses make up 50% of the total employees of the Western Cape Health Department. In fact, the province has this year reached the required number of nurses to staff public healthcare facilities properly.
To keep these numbers right, we focus on training. Provincial hospitals will soon become satellite campuses of the WC College of Nursing. The College is already doing sterling work toward reaching the target of 450 trained nurses each year.
In the Eastern Cape and Limpopo, massive vacancy rates for nurses and a lack of proper training programmes to ensure an on-going supply of medical professionals has led to thousands of people being unable to access quality healthcare at public facilities.
Our call to these provincial governments today is: restructure your bureaucracy to make space for the employees that mean the most to people using public healthcare.