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DENOSA calls Health Minister Motsoaledi to order for yet another reckless comment

Media Statement

Thursday, 04 January 2018 

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) would like to call Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, to order for the populist comment he has made without first establishing the facts, thus fueling the already bad tension and tenuous relations between nurses and communities with absolutely nothing being done to address it so far. 

Minister Motsoaledi was on Radio 702 this morning wherein, in response to a caller who said she had taken her baby to Bertha Gxowa Hospital in Germiston last year and had to wait for 5 hours on the queue without being seen by nurses before she decided to take her child to a spiritual healer as a result, he said those nurses have failed their pledge of service. 

In response to this, minister said such nurses must be washed out of the health system and that the South African Nursing Council as a regulatory body must convince him if they still deserve to be on the nurses register. 

By lambasting the nurses without first finding out what really happened in this case, DENOSA strongly feels that the Minister is just taking a populist approach and adding fuel to a volatile situation that already and regrettably exists between nurses and communities. 

In fact, if he were to adopt a similar knee-jerk reaction and approach to every incident in hospitals, the minister and his department will not be left with a single nurse on the nurses register because the severe shortage of nurses in facilities is the main contributory cause of long waiting hours in all our facilities, something that nurses always bear the brunt of, and not the employer.

As DENOSA, we would like to caution the Minister and MECs of Health in provinces to desist and refrain from making reckless and populist statements that continue to incite communities against nurses. 

As DENOSA, we still say the 80% negative attitude of staff in public facilities is the symptom of many systemic challenges that are caused by shortage of staff. 

We therefore ask the question, what is the Department doing to address the negative attitude? We ask this because it has become a norm in many facilities for two professional nurses and two assistant nurses to look after more than 35 patients in a ward per 12-hour shift. 

Notwithstanding this, however, DENOSA does not condone any act by any nurse that seeks to undermine the profession by abusing and not caring for patients. A blanket approach must not be applied when decrying the situation at health facilities, which are caused by severe shortage of nurses annd which minister has hardly committed on addressing in the near future while we are waiting for NHI. 

END

Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)