SA has 20,000 unemployed nurses ready to alleviate pressure in public health facilities, says Denosa

News24 reports that as the world commemorated International Nurses Day on 12 May, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) raised concerns about the shortage of nurses in public health facilities. Denosa spokesperson Sibongiseni Delihlazo said that according to research conducted by the trade union, there were 20,000 unemployed nurses sitting at home. Delihlazo indicated: “The data shows that a total of 20,000 nurses are unemployed and are readily available in at least eight provinces, except for the Northern Cape, which has not had the intake of student nurses at its nursing college in three years and thus is the only province with a real shortage of nurses.”

According to the data, Gauteng had about 10,000 unemployed nurses, followed by Free State with 5 000, down to 200 in KwaZulu-Natal. A recent report entitled, The Nursing Community Service Programme: The Answer to rural health system challenges, revealed that SA had a shortage of between 26,000 and 62,000 professional nurses. The report also estimated that by 2030, the demand for nurses in SA would increase to between 305,000 and 340,000. Denosa has urged the government and employers to adopt the International Council of Nurses’ 10 policy actions (as outlined in the news report) to salvage SA’s ailing healthcare system. Meanwhile, Life Healthcare’s Peter Wharton-Hood has expressed concern that Life Healthcare was able to train up to 3,000 nurses a year, but was currently only accredited to train 800.

by Yoliswa Sobuwa

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