ANC has no plan to fix nursing crisis but still wants NHI

September 23, 2019

Objections to the ANC’s disastrous National Health Insurance bill close on 11 October! Make sure that you lodge your objection to ensure we Stop The NHI.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) can confirm that the ANC government, in its hurried attempt to implement NHI, has no plan to fix the looming nursing crisis in South Africa after it shut down a DA sponsored parliamentary motion meant to discuss this issue of national importance.

I will be writing to the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, requesting that he issues a detailed public statement explaining how his Department will expedite the stalled process of accrediting new and current training nursing institutions countrywide as mandated by Section 17 of the Nursing Act, Act 33 of 2005.

On Tuesday 17 September the ANC objected to my motion without notice calling on the Minister of Health, Dr Mkhize, to give clarity on the slow pace of nursing colleges accreditation. The current basic and post-basic nursing legacy programmes being provided by accredited institutions ends on 31 December 2019, rendering these institutions unable to continue training in 2020.

The lethargic accreditation process poses a clear and present danger on nurse throughput and the sustainability of our primary healthcare system as we know it. If nothing is done to speed up the accreditation process, nursing institutions will be unable to provide critical programmes in peri-operative, intensive care unit, trauma, midwifery, neonatal intensive and paediatric care.

It is puzzling how the ANC government intends to achieve its NHI target of 1:40 staff:patient ratio when it has clearly shown that it is not willing or committed to finding an urgent solution to the nursing crisis.

The reality is that, the current staff:patient ratio of 1:1000 will only get worse if the non-accreditation of centres of higher education for nursing in 2020 is not addressed. Should Dr Mkhize continue burying his head in the sand on this issue, projections are that there will be a nursing deficit of 400 000 by 2025, when NHI is expected to be fully implemented.

The DA, through its Sizani healthcare policy, has emphasized the need to fix the underlying factors affecting service livery in primary healthcare as a critical first step in improving access to quality healthcare. Healthcare personnel training is one of our core offers and a DA government will avail R1 billion a year towards training programmes in the sector.

As the 31st of December 2019 deadline draws near, the DA will use every avenue available to us to ensure that the ANC does not collapse our primary healthcare system through its indifferent approach to nurse training. We will fight to defend the rights of every South African to quality healthcare.