Today's Labour News

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nursing thumb medium90 93BL PREMIUM writes that with the final implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) fast approaching, the need for skilled nurses is in sharp focus and there is uncertainty on whether SA will be able to fill the gap in time.  

Dr Sue Armstrong, senior nursing lecturer at Wits University, told delegates to the Hospital Association of SA conference on Tuesday that NHI required a functional district health-care system to be effective.  This was because prevention, early detection and disease treatment were done in district health systems, which would not run effectively without the required number of nurses.  "The major concern is that the professional nurses are an ageing group.  If one takes population growth into consideration, not as many professional nurses are currently being trained as are retiring," she indicated.  At the heart of the problem is that there has been a delay in SA Nursing Council (SANC) approvals for private nursing education institutions.  The government trains 73% of SA's nurses through its colleges, but that is not enough to resolve the shortage.  Also, the training of enrolled nurses (who provide limited nursing care) and nursing auxiliaries has been stopped without having in place provision for training of nurses in the new qualifications, which has led to the decline in overall nurse numbers, said Armstrong.

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