DA warns SA is facing looming nursing crisis

The DA said in its hurried attempt to implement NHI, government stalled the process of accrediting new and current nurse training institutions, which would be critical to the rollout of the NHI.

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CAPE TOWN - As Parliament prepares to start public hearings into the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill, the Democratic Alliance (DA) on Monday said the country was facing a looming nursing crisis.

The DA said that in its hurried attempt to implement NHI, government stalled the process of accrediting new and current nurse training institutions, which would be critical to the rollout of the NHI.

Chairperson of the health portfolio committee, Sibongiseni Dhlomo, said that an official communication was sent to all political parties represented in the National Assembly informing them of countrywide public hearings on the NHI Bill, which would begin in October.

But the DA said a lot still needed to be done with regards to nursing before NHI could be implemented.

DA MP Madeleine Hicklin said that without trained nurses, clinics and hospitals wouldn’t run effectively.

“With the introduction of the NHI in 2025, you will not be able to make a staff compliment able to look after the patients we currently have, much less the patients who are going to be joining the NHI,” she said.

Hicklin said projections were that there would be a nursing deficit of 400,000 by 2025, when NHI was expected to be fully in place.

“We are currently sitting on a ratio of one nurse to 1,000 patients in your worst-case scenario.”

Hicklin added the DA would make a submission once the hearings started.