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.

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