Monday 09 December 2019
The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) in KwaZulu-Natal held its first Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) meeting at DENOSA provincial office in Durban from 05 to 06 December 2019, first PEC after the provincial Congress.
The 5th of December marked 23 years of this organisation in existence.
The PEC noted with concerns the deteriorating conditions of service and the non recognition of nurses as providers of essential services.
ON SAFETY AND SECURITY
The PEC received concerning reports from its regions about the lack of safety in most institutions quoting several incidences where the safety of patients, nurses as well as the community members visiting these institutions was threatened to an extent that one member lost her life and the other member was raped in her place of work. Some clinics were broken into and some hospital equipment and state vehicles were stolen.
On this issue, the PEC resolved that the DOH must strengthen security by employing different grades of security guards and install cameras. Furthermore, the Department must finalise the process of installing trackers in the department's cars.
ON BARGAINING ISSUES
The PEC noted the snail pace in finalising uniform issue and raised concerns regarding this matter.
The PEC reaffirmed its position that only quality and adequate uniform inclusive of stockings, umbrellas, coats, jerseys and shoes will be accepted.
The PEC noted the overpayments that are affecting our members due to errors of human resource personnel in failing to implement this policy thus impacting on our members negatively.
The PEC also noted that this problem is due to inadequate staff in head office to conduct audits timeously and that there were debts that were as old as three years.
The PEC resolved that the department must be challenged in terms of prescription law, which states that any debt that is older than three years without the employee knowing about such debt, the prescription law automatically erases that debt. Therefore, members must not pay debts that are older than three years.
In a case where the overpayments are due to late submission by the supervisor, the PEC resolved that those members must be assisted to lodge grievences to dispute those overpayments and whoever is responsible must be charged.
ON SHORTAGE OF STAFF
The PEC noted that the contributory factor of this issue is a moratorium on filling of non exempted posts whereby a number of ENs (Enrolled Nurses) were translated to PN (Professional Nurse) but those posts were abolished, and that this has caused a huge burden on our members.
The PEC further noted that the other factor is lack of staffing norms and further noted that the DOH does not comply with the requirements of WISN (workload indicators of staffing needs ) which is utilised in clinics and does not serve its purpose.
ON NON-NURSING DUTIES
The PEC noted that most institutions are exploiting our members, making them to perform these duties while nurses are regulated by R2598 which is the scope of practice for nurses which clearly defines the duties of a nurse.
The PEC resolved that nurses must not perform these duties and, in cases where the supervisor forces them, they must refuse to carry that order since it is unreasonable and illegal.
ON TAKING OF BLOODS
The PEC noted that there is a grey area when it comes to this issue and that SANC was consulted regarding this issue but failed to assist. This duty is not a nurse's duty but if they have been trained on phlebotomy and tested for competency, they can perform these duties.
ON PROFESSIONAL MATTERS
The PEC noted with concern the rising number of litigations against nurses, particularly in Obstetrics and Gynecology sections, and further noted that the contributory factor to this is the shortage of staff.
In most institutions, there are staff establishments but the warm bodies do not match the staff establishment.
The PEC resolved that the DOH must review all staff establishments with a view to ensure that they are properly implemented and also match the changing disease patterns. Over and above these, the staff establishments address the needs of individual institutions.
The PEC noted that 2020 has been declared the International Year of The Nurse and the Midwife by World Health Organization (WHO) in honour of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale and agreed on the need to profile the nursing profession by visiting high schools in promoting the nursing profession.
ON GENDER ISSUES
The PEC noted the reports from regions about the scourge of gender-based violence subjected to our members in particular as well as sexual harassment on male nurses.
The PEC resolved to revive all gender structures and both women and men's forums to raise awareness in the workplace.
DENOSA KZN PEC committed itself in embarking on these awareness campaigns throughout the year.
The PEC further resolved to have gender orientation workshop to capacitate gender structures.
ON EVICTION OF NURSES FROM STAFF RESIDENCE
The PEC received concerns from different regions about eviction of nurses from staff residences.
The PEC resolved to call a bilateral meeting with affected districts to discuss this matter.
ON STUDENTS MATTERS
The PEC noted the discrepancies in the treatment of students from our province compared with other provinces in particular Mpumalanga province where students are given accommodation and books allowance as well as uniform allowance while KZN students do not get such.
The PEC regards this unequal treatment as unfair, and therefore resolved that this issue be escalated to national office for intervention.
The PEC welcomed the release of the NHI Bill and understands that it will assist in addressing the issue of shortage of staff as well as ageing and dilapidated infrastructure. However, the PEC called for more education campaign on the Bill for nursesti be able to fully support.
The PEC resolved to conduct education campaigns to familiarise the members with the bill as they have been trained by Cosatu.
ON SPECIALITY BACKPAY
The PEC noted the victory by the provincial office in winning the dispute against HRM circular 13 of 2017 which was unfair to our members
The PEC resolved that all regions must submit lists of affected members to the provincial office before the 17th of December 2019.
The PEC further resolved to advocate for withdrawal of this circular with immediate effect to avoid confusion in the future.
ON 72 HOUR ASSESMENT OF MENTALLY ILL PATIENTS
The PEC noted that the department is contravening the Mental Health Act 1983, as amended most recently by the Mental Health Act 2007, which states that mental health patients must be assessed and diagnosed within 72 hours and be isolated in the designated areas after 72 hours.
The PEC further noted that the DOH is mixing these patients with normal medical patients, thus exposing them to dangerous situations.
The PEC resolved to seek legal advice in ensuring that the department complies with the provisions of the Act.
The PEC closed its meeting by having a gala diner at Waterfront Hotel celebrating achievements by regional recruiters from 8 regions of this province.
All recruiters were awarded trophies to thank and motivate them.
The overall provincial winner with the highest number of recruits was cde Sindy Ngubo, Secretary of Ugu Region.
Issued by DENOSA in KwaZulu-Natal
For more information, contact:
Mandla Shabangu, DENOSA KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 072 553 1636