Only 22 000 nurses for 50 million South Africans

Issued by Michele Clarke MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
21 Jun 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP

South Africa has only 22 090 nurses to serve the country’s more than 50 million people dependent on the public health sector – one for every 2 300 people – and of these more than 30% will retire in the next 10 years. A further 38% will retire in the decade after.

This, and the fact that there are 5 060 vacancies for various nursing specialties was revealed by the Minister of Health, Dr Joe Phaahla, in answer to a written parliamentary question from the DA.

The Department of Health seem to have no concrete plans to address this disastrous state of affairs with the Minister stating that he “is unable to state the envisaged time frame to fill the vacant positions due to general budget cuts that negatively affects the Compensation of Employment” and that the filling of vacant posts were prioritized “where the budgets permit”.

Situations like these is exactly why the National Health Insurance (NHI) is destined to fail. The ANC government is incapable of managing the public health sector. Their failure to address the current nursing shortage and lack of urgency to solve the sector’s future demise is a disturbing prediction of what’s to come under the disastrous NHI.

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