Health department aims to hire 1 000 nurses and 70 doctors

One thousand Eastern Cape health jobs will be advertised in this financial year.
The department of health is on a major recruitment drive and this time they want to hire 1000 new employees from porters to nurses.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Dispatch yesterday, provincial health superintendent-general Dr Thobile Mbengashe said the jobs would be advertised in “phases” as part of an “ongoing process”.

He said the aim was to increase their 46000 staffing complement.

“We have been able to assess the needs of the different facilities and we have found that around the province we have about 10500 professional nurses and not nearly enough enrolled nurses.

“These are the nurses that assist the professional nurses by taking blood pressure and treating minor ailments,” he said.

Mbengashe said their employment drive would include the employment of 500 new nurses and 500 support staff members, which include porters, garden services staffers and general workers for cleaning and administration staff.

He said the department was currently working from its 2007 organogram, and it needed a new one in line with their assessment of needs of each of their facilities.

In addition to the 1000 new jobs the department has advertised 70 posts for doctors.

The employment drive comes as the Democratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) released a statement calling on all member nurses to refrain from “performing non-nursing” duties in health facilities around the province.

Following a meeting in King William’s Town by Denosa’s provincial executive committee, the union says their nurses must stop covering up the “gross” shortage of staff in health facilities.

Denosa’s provincial secretary Khaya Sodidi called on the nurses to stick within their scope of practice.

“The only way for nurses to protect themselves from this malpractice is to refrain from doing non-nursing duties and focus on proper nursing care.

“It is clear that the department is not interested in improving the quality of nursing care and the nursing environment for nurses in our health facilities,” Sodidi said, adding that nurses were being forced to do jobs they are not paid for due to shortages of staff.

These included acting as clerks because the clerks do not work night duty, nurses taking corpses to mortuaries because there are no porters, and nurses dishing up food for patients and cleaning the wards.

Mbengashe said some health facilities did not have staff shortages, but because their bed occupancy was low, fewer staff members were hired.

However, he conceded that it was wrong for nurses to be working outside their scope of practice.

“Denosa is correct, nurses should stick to their scope.

“It is unacceptable for nurses to clean and be clerks.

“We are trying to deal with that problem.

“Obviously they are conscious of infection control and hygiene but that cannot be part of their job because there are no people hired to do that. This also includes the number of hours they work a day as well.”

He said while they have heard of Denosa’s PEC resolutions, the department has not been officially informed.

Mbengashe said for the 2017-18 financial year, the department of health has an allocated budget of R21-billion, R14-billion of which is earmarked for human resources. — siyat@dispatch.co.za

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