nursing thumb medium90 93Business Times reports that two of SA's biggest private hospital groups, Mediclinic and Life Healthcare, are turning to India to recruit nurses for critical posts as they struggle to fill specialist nursing positions.  

This year, Mediclinic is recruiting 150 senior registered nurses from India as an interim strategy to deal with shortages in its hospitals.  Most of these 150 nurses are for employment for three years in operating theatres and intensive care units.  The group began recruiting nurses from India in 2005.  Life Healthcare SA (LHSA) plans to recruit 35 nurses from India this year.  Sharon Vasuthevan of LHSA said:  "SA, unfortunately, has a shortage of specialist registered nurses.  Our experience is that nurses from India have an excellent work ethic and provide quality nursing care."  Between 2008 and 2014, LHSA employed 135 nurses from India.  Netcare does not have a policy of recruiting nurses from other countries.  The shortage is unlikely to be resolved soon as a new general nursing qualification programme begins this year after previous qualifications were phased out last year.  There have also been delays in accrediting training programmes.  Meanwhile, an initiative by the Hospital Association of SA (Hasa), which represents private hospital groups, and Business Unity SA, to train 50,000 nurses over eight years appears to have not taken off yet.  Simon Hlungwani of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) said although it wasn't clear what the total number of nurses in the country was, there was "a severe shortage".  He attributed the shortage to nurses emigrating to the UK, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and New Zealand, where working conditions were better than in SA due to less exposure to litigation.

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