Updated 06 July 2016

Nurses in government hospitals demand better deal

Nurses in the public sector feel they are paid too little and that their work load is too big.

Young nurses in Gauteng are unhappy about pay and working conditions in government hospitals, and recently marched to the Gauteng Department of Health (GPDOH) to raise their concerns.

Used as scapegoats

Lebogang Phehla, the general secretary of the Young Nurses Indaba, said that nurses are paid too little and, because there is a national nurse shortage, each nurse has a big work load.

Read: What's happening with the health of South Africans?

“There are young nurses out there searching for the jobs, and the department should create posts for those nurses,” said Phehla, adding that nurses were tired of being used as scapegoats by the department of health for its ailing healthcare system.

“The strategy of bringing back the retired nurses is also not helping. Instead it adds to the burden of overworked nurses as the retired nurses no longer have the energy and the drive to diligently serve the people,” he said.

“We have seen an increasing number of attacks directed to the nurses while on duty. Our nurses cannot die while serving the nation and put their lives in danger,” said Phehla, appealing to the GPDOH to improve security systems in the hospitals.

Read: Overworked nurses cause serious errors

Olita Khuboni, a nurse at Sebokeng Hospital, said that the government must take responsibility for the state of hospitals and clinics because there is no equipment and medication. “The patients blame us for poor services whereas the Department is to blame. We are prepared to help our patients but we don’t have equipment,” said Khuboni.

Management studying memorandum

Khuboni also highlighted the flight of community health workers: “These are the people who do lot of work in the field. You can’t have people on contracts for more than 10 years and yet you pay them R2 500 per month.”

Gauteng Department of Health spokesperson Steve Mabona acknowledged receiving a memorandum by the, and said that “management is busy studying its contents and will respond in due course”. – Health-e News.

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