Union demands change

2017-05-31 06:00
The leaders of the Free State Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa and the Department of Health sign a memorandum of demands presented by the union. From the left are Thibogang Thole (chair­person), Veronica Fransman-Hendricks (secretary), Lebitsa Mokhele (treasurer) and Dr David Motau (head of the Department of Health). Photo: Teboho Setena

The leaders of the Free State Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa and the Department of Health sign a memorandum of demands presented by the union. From the left are Thibogang Thole (chair­person), Veronica Fransman-Hendricks (secretary), Lebitsa Mokhele (treasurer) and Dr David Motau (head of the Department of Health). Photo: Teboho Setena

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The Free State Department of Health has seven working days to reply to demands presented by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa).

Members of the trade union marched to present a memorandum of demands to Dr David Motau, head of the department, with the union giving the department seven working days to reply to demands, on Friday (26/05).

Union members sharply criticised the department for failing to resolve difficulties which they said continued to hamper the ability of nurses and doctors to render quality services to the public.

“We do not have a Department of Health in the Free State,” said Thibogang Thole, trade union chairperson.

“We are calling on premier Ace Magashule to establish one.”, because whenever we raise grave concerns regarding the state of health, we are told of treasury.”

Thole said that the union would shut down healthcare facilities in the Free State, should the department fail to respond and start resolving grievances.

According to Lebitsa Mokhele, the union’s treasurer, the problems date back far as 2013, blaming the department management inability to take action. He pointed out that the problems due to the department have result in the public sharply criticising nurses.

“The appalling conditions in healthcare facilities have resulted in the lack of respect for healthcare professionals.

Mokhele further said describing the state of the provincial health: “This clearly indicates that the health environment has become a risk to itself,” Mokhele said.

He said the Free State ­Department of Health had failed to implement a single solution of the proposed turn around core solutions the department authority had agreed with nurses and doctors in 2013. Agreed measures not in place were to ensure workplace safety, supply of equipment, training and education of nurses, support and respect in the work place.

The union’s demands include the department:

  • paying for overtime;
  • managing the shortage of nurses and equipment;
  • employing graduated nurses;
  • supplying nurses with full uniforms and patients clothing to hospitals; and
  • regularly inspecting equipment in hospitals and paying nurses on time.

According to Mokhele, there is a shortage of nurses.

“There are a lot of young nurses who completed their studies as recently as 2014, but are still unemployed. The struggle with the ever-recurring problem of placing community service nurses and employing them after completion still remains unresolved.”

Motau responded by saying that the department would look into the grievances raised by the union.

“We appreciate every oppor­tunity unions give us to address issues affecting us daily. I was not taught by a doctor to examine a patient, but by nurses. We cannot overemphasise the importance of nurses. We have heard your problems and will ensure that we find solutions to these issues with you.”

  • Watch the video on the Express Facebook page.

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