healthcareThe New Age reports that patients in the Eastern Cape are bearing the brunt of a chronic shortage of health practitioners, including doctors and nurses.  Huge staff shortages and weak primary care are the two most pressing problems for the province.  

Unions have voiced their frustrations over the shortages, which they say hampers service delivery and already overburdened staff.  They claim efforts to engage with the health department have drawn a blank, something they say will leave them with no choice but to “down tools”.  Nurses belonging to three trade unions, namely Denosa, the PSA and Hospersa, say the Eastern Cape has a gross shortage of nurses to a point where enrolled nurses even take the risk of running a ward in the absence of a registered nurse.  A union spokesperson said:  “In a country in crisis of gross shortage of hospital staff, we strongly feel that the Eastern Cape is the worst off.”  Eastern Cape health spokesperson Siyanda Manana confirmed the shortage, but said the situation was not peculiar to the Eastern Cape.

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