NEWS & ANALYSIS

Gauteng Health admits to huge nursing shortage – Jack Bloom

DA MPL says number of nursing posts based on 2006 population estimate when there were 4,8m fewer people in province

Gauteng Health Department admits to huge nursing shortage

25 June 2018

Gauteng Health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa has disclosed that the Gauteng Health Department is facing a “critical shortage of skilled nursing personnel”, and that it is operating on a staff establishment based on the provincial population of 2006, when there were 4.8 million fewer people.

She said this last week on Friday at a Nurses Seminar Round Table Discussion held in Krugersdorp.

The number of nursing posts is based on a population of 9.5 million in 2006, but this has now “grown to an estimated 14.278 million over the past 12 years without any upward adjustment.”

This situation has been worsened by a circular to hospitals directing them to fill only 50% of vacant funded posts occupied by retired, resigned and deceased nursing personnel.

I am horrified by Ramokgopa’s admission that these circumstances “led to nursing managers allocating unskilled nursing personnel to attend to patients in critical areas.”

This is extremely irresponsible and raises the risk of medical negligence.

Another bombshell is that “the Department does not have an approved organizational structure for the review period 2014-19. A draft has been developed and approved by the Executing Authority but has to be ratified by the Minister of Public Service and Administration.”

The Department has a weak Human Resource division, which is why it operates on an outdated and inadequate personnel structure that cannot provide quality care to patients.

A bad situation is worsened by the current crude policy of filling only 50% of unfilled posts, which is putting great strain on hospital staff.

The Department needs to strengthen its top management team which currently goes from blunder to blunder.

Issued by Jack BloomDA Gauteng Shadow Health MEC, 25 June 2018