Army to work in Mthatha hospital

2012-03-10 10:40

The Eastern Cape health department is planning to call in army personnel to work as nurses at Mthatha’s Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital.

The planned move comes after nurses at the hospital downed tools because they are unhappy about their night duty allowance.

Yesterday police had to free two hospital managers who had been held hostage for several hours by the nurses, departmental spokesman Sizwe Kupelo said.

It had taken hours of negotiation between police and the nurses to secure the managers’ release, Kupelo said.

Kupelo said the nurses embarked on unlawful strike action after night allowance money owed to them was not paid.

The non-payment was because hospital authorities detected problems with a night shift duty list that was submitted, he said.

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

“This is a wildcat strike...they know health workers are not allowed to embark on any kind of industrial action, so we are considering taking a very hard stance which could include dismissal.”

“These nurses have betrayed their profession and their country. You cannot just punish the patients for the mistakes of one person,” Kupelo added.

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