‘Public service must change to improve service delivery’

The way the public service works must change or there will be no improvement in service delivery, the National Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said today.

The union was reacting to a call by President Jacob Zuma for healthcare workers to improve their service standards to rehabilitate the image of the health sector.

“It is an open secret that the nursing profession has received a lot of negative publicity over the last couple of years because of some shabby treatment experienced by patients especially those who use the public health facilities,” said Nehawu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla.

The health sector had deteriorated because of outsourcing and privatisation, bad pay and working conditions, poor resourcing and a failure to fill the vacancies.

“It is unacceptable that there are more managers than nurses and doctors who have been hired in the health sector over the last 10 years, especially because most health institutions are poorly managed and are malfunctioning,” said Pamla.

“Our health facilities are poorly equipped, under-resourced and overburdened and this creates disillusionment and no-one expects disheartened workers to deliver quality service,” he said.

Nehawu was prepared to play a positive and constructive role in finding solutions to the challenges.

Pamla hoped that the National Nursing Summit would be used lay a foundation for the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI).

He believed the NHI would address some of the challenges, including staff training, staff shortages, and poor management systems.

“We hope that this summit will bring about solutions that will ensure that there is no more patient neglect and that there are minimal resignations, no burn-out, being absent of workers, immigration and late coming of nurses in our hospitals,” he said.

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