Fewer jobs for qualified nurses

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Fewer jobs for qualified nurses

A lack of funded vacant nursing posts is behind the high number of unemployed nurses in
South Africa, claims the Health and Allied Workers Indaba Trade Union (Haitu).

The union has called on the Department of Health to fill all open nursing positions at public
healthcare facilities in response.

According to Haitu, the number of trained nurses sitting idle in provinces has plummeted
from 8,000 to less than 100 in recent years.

With many older nurses leaving the workforce, General Secretary Lerato Mthunzi says more
nurses must be trained to meet demand.

“But at the backdrop of that, we do have nurses that have been trained over the years that
are struggling to be employed,” she points out.

Mthunzi says unemployed nurses end up at home, looking overseas, or in the private sector
when they were trained to serve the public health system.

“So we still got failing of nurses and employment of more nurses into the public sector is
quite crucial at this stage,” she adds.

The situation highlights a discrepancy between South Africa’s need for nurses and the lack
of employment opportunities after training.

As Mthunzi notes, this mismatch leads to a brain drain of qualified nurses abroad or to the
private sector. The public healthcare system misses out.

More posts must be created and properly funded to absorb unemployed nurses. Otherwise,
investments made in nurse training are wasted while healthcare facilities remain

As Haitu argues, the Department of Health must step up hiring to retain skilled nurses and
ensure quality care for patients. Employing idle graduates is also simply fair after their
dedication to training.

Qualified nurses standing ready to serve should not be sidelined. Hiring them benefits
nurses, the health system, and South Africans relying on public care.