KWAZULU-NATAL Nurses Forum organiser Bheki Gumbi has accused the Department of Health in KwaZulu-Natal of spending an exorbitant amount of money on outreach programs like circumcision instead of hiring nurses. Gumbi said this on Monday when nurses marched to the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature where they submitted a memorandum of demands.
IN THE MEMORANDUM THE NURSES DEMANDED THE FOLLOWING :
•Filling of all vacant posts;
•Students nurses to be hired full time;
•Nurses to be paid extra money for doing other jobs that are not in their job description; and
•Closure of all private nursing colleges and moving nursing training to Technical and Vocational Educational and Training (Tvet) colleges to allow everyone to get a funding from National Student Financial Aid System (Nsfas).
This is the second time in two months that the nurses have submitted the memorandum to the Department of Health. The first one was submitted at Natalia in May.
Gumbi said they are tired of being ill-treated by the Minister of Health, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, and his department.
He also accused the department of not caring about the community.
“Dhlomo is turning [the] community against nurses because the community blame us [ nurses] if they do not get help at the clinics or if they have to spend their whole day in the queues in hospitals. The community deserves to know that it is not our fault that we are short staffed. We are the ones who have to turn people away without helping them because clinics are closing,” he said.
He said they want the department [of health] to fill all vacant nursing posts. He also said that they are tired of being overworked by the department.
“Three nurses have to attend to 60 patients in a ward because we are short staffed. In attending to those patients they also need to translate languages for doctors which is not part of their job. If the department wants nurses to translate for doctors they must pay them for that because it means they are working two different jobs now.
“The department promised to hire nurses in 2007 but now they [department] want to bring back retired nurses to fill up all the vacant posts because they do not want to hire students nurses full-time. We want government students to be hired full-time and get all the benefits,” he said.
Gumbi said they are giving the department two weeks to respond to their demands.
Legislature’s chief operating officer, Zethembiso Nzuza, said they will keep an eye on the department to check if they are dealing with the issues stated in the memorandum. He said they are aware that this is not the first time that the nurses are voicing their concerns.