Johannesburg – Poor planning and the ongoing health budget crisis will see 700 nurses unable to start their first year of nursing training, DA Gauteng health spokesperson Jack Bloom said on Tuesday.
"It is unacceptable that nurse training is disrupted and delayed for students who qualified after a rigorous selection process," Bloom said.
Bloom said he sympathised with "angry students" who gathered outside the Chris Hani Baragwanath and Ann Latsky nursing colleges on Monday.
SG Lourens nursing college was also affected by the crisis.
He added that Gauteng health MEC Gwen Ramokgopa should apologise for what he termed a "bungle" and that she should announce a date for the start of nursing classes as soon as possible.
First-year classes 'postponed'
On Tuesday morning, Gauteng health department spokesperson Lesemang Matuka said, currently, the department could not afford to start the programme at the colleges.
"Because of the financial situation, we are looking at postponing the starting for first years only. We will certainly in the beginning of the financial year ensure that the students who already went through the screening are indeed part of the first-year group that we are taking," Ramokgopa said on Monday.
She said there was no way that the department would not take in first-year students.
"It is just the matter of making sure that by the time we take them that there are finances to make sure that we are able to pay [for] their bursaries, accommodation and training material," she said.
She said there was no need to be concerned and that a date for the start of the first-year class would be announced soon.
According to Ramokgopa, about 1 000 nurses leave the healthcare service every year.