A total of 706 nurses from Limpopo were left without work this week after their contracts were terminated.
According to the DA, this is a reflection of the ANC’s own pursuit of power – not the health of the people.
Michele Clarke, the DA’s spokesperson on health, says if the ANC really cared about health services, they would enter into discussions with the treasury to ensure that all critical positions are urgently filled.
“They would ensure that consequence management is implemented, to get rid of all incompetent and corrupt managers and staff who waste and steal crucial resources. They would also upgrade and develop health infrastructure to ensure that patients receive quality care at safe facilities.
“But instead they are pushing the National Health Insurance (NHI) bill through parliament, so they can pretend for the 2024 election that they care about poor and vulnerable people.”
According to Clarke, the spokesperson for the department of health in Limpopo, Neil Shikwambana, indicated that the province currently has 1,200 vacant positions, while in March last year the department indicated a vacancy rate of almost 41% for professional nurses.
Dr. Joe Phaahla, the Minister of Health, also recently indicated that 340 positions for specialty nurses in Limpopo are vacant.
“The department’s lack of foresight for the devastation caused by the termination of hundreds of nursing contracts – just months after the province unveiled its ambitious plan to provide 24-hour access to clinics – is a clear prediction of the chaos that will follow on the implementation of the NHI Bill,” says Clarke.
The DA will now submit parliamentary questions to the minister to determine how many temporary nurses are still employed in all the provinces, and when their contracts come to an end.
“We will also continue to do everything in our power to protect the country’s limited quality healthcare and prevent the NGV bill.”