Nurses ‘coping well’ at hard-hit Edendale

2010-06-04 00:00

OVERSPENDING of departmental funds during the tenure of the previous KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Health, Peggy Nkonyeni, has led to the freezing of posts as part of a strategy to recoup those funds.

This was stated by the chairperson of the departments’ parliamentary oversight committee, Zanele Ludidi, yesterday.

She was commenting on disclosures that Edendale Hospital has been hit hard by staff shortages given the estimated 400 critical post vacancies which remain unfilled due to financial constraints.

Last Friday the oversight committee paid a surprise visit to the hospital where it was reported to have been shocked by the large number of vacancies.

The Weekend Witness reported that hospital’s CEO, Zanele Ndwandwe, disclosed that the hospital is experiencing seve staff shortages, including critical posts for nurses and doctors.

She said Edendale has an estimated 400 vacancies, including 84 for nurses, 65 for doctors and at least 13 specialist positions.

Ndwandwe added that the moratorium on appointments has been lifted and the hospital will be able to fill some the posts.

Yesterday Ludidi said the freezing of posts emanated from overspending during Nkonyeni’s tenure.

“To recoup the funds, the department, together with the treasury, had a joint turn-around strategy, part of which was to freeze posts in hospitals around the province.

“This exerted pressure on existing staff, but our observation on our Edendale visit last week was that the existing nurses, mostly seasoned ones, were coping well under pressure so we can’t say the strategy led to disaster.

“However, this financial year the department is financed to employ more than 100 doctors and some enrolled and professional nurses for Edendale Hospital alone.

“Hopefully in the next financial year we will be able to see more posts being filled and bringing the hospital staffing to normal,” said Ludidi.

She said the process will be made quick and easy by the response from applicants, adding that in the next financial year more posts will be budgeted for.

In response to the reports, department spokesperson Chris Maxon said the vacancies cannot be attributed to financial constraints as Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dlomo has instructed hospitals to fill the vacant posts as early as January.


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