Dept: Nurses must work or be fired

2012-03-10 19:00
Johannesburg - Nursing staff who abandoned their posts at the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital in Mthatha have a day to return to work, the Eastern Cape health department said on Saturday.

"The nurses have until tomorrow [Sunday] to report to work or they will be fired," said spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo.

The nurses abandoned their posts on Friday night, after holding two hospital managers hostage over the night duty allowance.

The nurses, who were not armed, locked them in a boardroom at around 11:00.

Managers locked in boardroom

Kupelo said a list of nurses qualifying for the allowance had been submitted, but had to be re-submitted when it was found to contain mistakes.

"It was detected that the list was fraudulent. There were names of people who were on leave at the time," he said.

He said when nurses were told in a meeting that they would not be paid by Monday, they got angry and locked two managers in a boardroom.

Another group went to wards and ordered nurses out to attend a meeting.

"Nurses who were reporting for night duty were ordered out, leaving patients without nurses."

He said nurses abandoned their posts except those in the maternity ward and intensive care unit.

"Today [Saturday] as we speak, all nurses have reported for work including those who are on night shift, we suspect their intention is not to work the night shift," he said.

He said labour union National Education, Health and Allied Union was holding a meeting with the nurses on Saturday, to warn them about the danger of their "wildcat" strike.

Patients transferred

"Administratively we are issuing out notices that nurses must return by Sunday or risk being fired," said Kupelo.

He said one patient was transferred to an East London hospital on Friday night. Other patients were being taken back to the hospitals which had referred them to the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital for specialised care.

"What we do not want is for people to die... we hope the meeting will come with a solution."

Kupelo said departmental officials from Bisho had been sent to the hospital in a bid to manage the problem.
Read more on:    east london  |  health

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