Denosa calls for complete overhaul of country’s nursing sector

Academics and other healthcare organisations have also sounded the alarm around what they say is a looming crisis unless government steps in.

A nurse smiles during a march by hundreds of nurses from across the country in central Pretoria for better pay and working conditions. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) called for a complete overhaul of the country’s nursing sector, citing a range of problems including a chronic decline in staff numbers and rising public healthcare needs.

Academics and other healthcare organisations have also sounded the alarm around what they say is a looming crisis unless government steps in.

Denosa president Simon Hlungwani said the nursing sector had been battling for some time now.

“There is a lot that has increased, including the burden of disease and an increase in the population. But the number of nurses that have been trained on an annual basis has not been increased,” he said.

From January next year, a new curriculum for professional nurses is expected to be introduced as stipulated by regulatory frameworks handed down by the Department of Health.

Academics and healthcare organisations have warned that the slow accreditation process could see the sector missing the deadline, further worsening staff shortages.

But chief nursing officer at the Department of Health Nonhlanhla Makhaya said these concerns were unfounded.

“There’s been formal directories and circulars that have been sent to everybody to guide them continuously and inform them about the process as it unfolds.”

Makhaya said the new curriculum was necessary to improve the quality of service provided by the nursing sector.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)