Nurses in the Free State have sought out intervention from the National Health Department to deal with staff shortages, among other issues. According to Denosa Free State Provincial Chairperson, Thibogang Thole, vacancies at health facilities in the province were not treated with a sense of urgency. He told Dumelang News in a statement that midwives and staff at Pelonomi Hospital’s maternity ward forwarded their grievances to the facility’s management on Tuesday.
Thole said that every year, about 200 nurses graduate from nursing colleges in the province, but these nurses are not employed at health facilities despite shortages. He added that previously they were told that the department was unable to hire more staff, because it was under administration. He confirmed that as of recent times, the department was no longer under administration, but said they still delayed hiring nurses to deal with the staff shortages.
This comes after the latest report by the Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts and Finance in the Free State Legislature listed vacancies at the Free State Health department as one of its major challenges. Dumelang News has also learnt that the shortage of medical staff at the Free State Psychiatric Hospital has reached critical levels with only one nurse serving a ward with up to 30 patients; some of them needing around the clock monitoring and care.
Thole further urged community members to place pressure on the government, as it was citizens themselves who had to bore the brunt of staff shortages, having to endure long queues at health facilities. Lack of security at health facilities was one of the grievances listed by the nurses in a memorandum that was handed in on Tuesday.It is expected that the department will respond to the memorandum within the next fourteen days.