Staff shortages caused baby deaths, says union

2010-07-29 07:40

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) said it was concerned about the deaths of 22 babies in June alone at the Kimberley Hospital Complex.

Denosa said: “We wish to sympathise with the families who have lost their babies, as no parent would like to see their children, no matter the age, pass away.

“We are calling for support to be offered also to the nurses working in the ICU [intensive care unit] with the babies, because no nurse wants to see a patient die, especially a baby.”

Denosa said despite the current problems and strains of staff shortage, nurses needed to be saluted for the effort they put into the provision of health care to patients.

“We do however call on the Department of Health to declare all nursing positions as beyond critical and for all vacancies to be filled as in yesterday, by cutting through the red tape,” it said.

The organisation said the Northern Cape’s health sector had to deal with a huge shortage of staff and that every time a nurse left the province or the profession, they left a bigger burden and this increased the medico-legal risk associated with the problem.

“Families have lost their babies, as a community we should comfort them and communicate words that will help them heal. It is our view that the nursing staff at Kimberley Hospital Complex have done beyond their power to care for the babies as we can see in the report given by Kimberley Hospital and its representatives,” it said.

“It is unfortunate that some babies have lost their lives.”

Denosa said: “Specialised units such as neonatal ICU need one on one, that is one baby to one nurse, because these kind of babies are not well developed and they need intensive care for their survival.

“Even the environment where this care is being given needs more space as any slide airborne kind of a virus can not be able to affect babies. Staffing norms in such areas are a must,” said Denosa.

The organisation said it has committed itself to provide support and whatever needs to be done in order for the immediate addressing of the challenges and problems through a short, medium- and long-term solution.

“Once these steps have been taken, then we can effectively reduce the current deaths of babies and the provision of effective, quality healthcare,” Denosa said.

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