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12 May 2019


Hospersa has called on the Department of Health (DoH) as well as private health institutions to address the poor working conditions and remuneration shortfalls of nurses.  The Union has highlighted many concerns affecting nurses in South Africa as the international community celebrates the role played by nurses.  The Union has also vowed to continue campaigning for an improved health care service and improved working conditions for nurses in both the public and private sector.

On 12 May 2019, Hospersa joins the international community in celebrating International Nurses Day.  This annual celebration looks to highlight the important role nurses play in the society and marks the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth.  The International Council of Nurses (ICN) leads these celebrations and this year’s theme is “Nursing: the balance of Mind, Body and Spirit”.

“Hospersa embraces this theme and commends nurses for being the life blood of the health care system where many challenges beyond their control continue to paralyse it,” said Hospersa Public Relations Officer Kevin Halama.  “Nurses role in our clinics and hospitals ensures that primary health care reaches the most vulnerable South Africans who depend on it the most.  However, poor working conditions especially in public health facilities continues being a thorn in the flesh in the delivery of quality health care to many of the country’s communities,” added Halama.

“Leaking ceilings, broken elevators and depleted buildings have become the face of public health care,” said Halama.  “A number of hospitals and clinics have been red-flagged to be in violation of OHS standards, yet the DoH is moving at a snail’s pace in addressing the reported Occupational Health and Safety contraventions,” added Halama.

“There is also a high prevalence of work place infections of Tuberculosis (TB) which is robbing the health sector of a skilled workforce that consist of predominantly nurses. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), South Africa (SA) has the second-highest TB incidence amongst health care workers in the world.  It is high time that TB prevention amongst health workers, especially nurses, takes priority as they are at the cold face of both the HIV and TB epidemics,” added Halama.

“Furthermore, the staff morale of nurses is very low due to meagre salaries, poor implementation of the nurses’ uniform allowance and non-translation of nurses who qualified to progress into higher positions, e.g. (Enrolled Nursing Assistants to Enrolled Nurses and Enrolled Nurses to Professional Nurses).  In the private sector, employers continue implementing less than favourable salary increases in an economic environment characterized by a weaker rand and rising costs which have diminished nurses’ earnings,” added Halama.

“Hospersa has taken lead in addressing these issues which are affecting nurses in the workplace,” said Halama.  “To address the OHS concerns in the workplace, we have partnered with the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH) for collaborative efforts to tackles OHS challenges experienced by health workers including nurses.  We have previously organized a number of marches to put pressure on the employer to address nurses’ issues with the most recent march being in KwaZulu-Natal province, late last year.  Hospersa continues to fight for fair remuneration and better conditions of service at a number of private health institutions where we enjoy majority membership,” added Halama.

“We now call the DoH and private sector employers to follow our lead in improving the working conditions of nurses,” said Halama.  “Hospersa will continue campaigning for an improved health care system that not only addresses the delivery of quality health care to communities but also looks at improving the lives of the many nurses that are at the forefront of the country’s health care system,” concluded Halama.





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For interviews please contact Hospersa Public Relations Officer Kevin Halama – 060-546-8166.

Hospersa – The Trade Union fighting for worker rights in the Public and Private Sector

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