Gauteng to absorb graduate nurses
THE GAUTENG Department of Health has made a U-turn on its plan not to absorb nurses it sent for training and who underwent community service.
In an about-turn, head of department Professor Mkhululi Lukhele has announced that at least 240 nurses will be employed. A total of 650 had faced being left without jobs.
Last week, the Daily News’s sister newspaper, The Star, reported that for the first time in many years, the Health Departments in Gauteng and Limpopo would not be absorbing nurses.
In a circular, Lukhele stated that all 2016/17 and 2017/18 community service nurses “appointed additional to the post establishment” should not be kept in service beyond February.
Lukhele said this cohort should be appointed on a month-to-month contract for January and February.
“All affected nurses should be encouraged to apply for posts with the private sector institutions that were engaged by the department,” said Lukhele in the circular.
Yesterday, Lukhele said the department had put measures in place to fast-track the filling of community service nursing posts.
“With this process, the nursing posts have been prioritised. Out of the 650 stimulus package posts, 240 will be used to absorb professional nurses,” Lukhele said.
He said the role of nurses was “crucial in the healthcare system”.
Lukhele said negotiations between the Gauteng Department of Health, private sector and NGOs were ongoing and at an “advanced stage to ensure that the remaining number of those community service nurses are contracted as well to serve the public”.
“Although the implementation of our recovery plan is beginning to bear fruit, the department is not yet out of the woods.
“Our COE (Compensation of Employees) budget is currently accounting for over 60% of the total departmental budget and the status quo is making it difficult to create new posts or absorb all professionals who complete their community service.”
Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba has also cited a cash crisis facing the department, saying it had forced her to release 444 workers who were doing community service.