Patients endangered as unqualified Joburg nurses forced to perform specialised tasks‚ says union
Nurses employed by the City of Johannesburg say they are forced to perform duties beyond their qualifications‚ putting people at risk.
Nurses belonging to the Young Nurses Indaba downed tools this week‚ taking their complaints on salary disputes and working conditions to the South African Local Government Association (Salga).
The City of Johannesburg said it had received salary and remuneration-related complaints processed at the Salga bargaining council level.
Spokesperson for the Indaba Lerato Madumo Gova said registered nurses working for the city had been forced to do the work of specialised nurses who diagnosed‚ treated patients and prescribed medication‚ duties they were not qualified to perform.
Gova said employees unqualified as health care nurses were required to observe and copy the functions of specialised nurses‚ or refer to a manual for guidance.
“We are not licensed to dispense medication and conduct invasive procedures and this could result in our licenses as general nurses being revoked and‚ worst of all‚ it poses a danger to the public‚” said Gova.
Gova said nurses with specialised qualifications were not paid in accordance with their qualifications.
The Young Nurses Indaba‚ which had 50 000 members nationwide‚ said it had previously complained to the Nursing Council‚ to no avail.
Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba announced a R4.3 million budget allocation this week to extend the working hours of five clinics in the city‚ after the success of extended hours at Princess clinic in Roodepoort‚ in effect from October last year.
The clinics will operate seven days a week. On weekdays they will be open from 6am to 10pm.
There was a meeting scheduled for Monday to discuss working conditions and staffing at clinics on extended hours‚ Gova said.
“We will raise our concerns on patient safety‚ under-staffing and security measures to ensure patients and staff are safe during extended hours‚” she said.