The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA) notes the Budget Speech by Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, which he tabled in Parliament on 26 February 2014 on the government expenditure and finance plan over the next few years.
With regards to budget allocation on health, DENOSA would like to appreciate the R43.5 billion allocation in the rollout of antiretroviral treatment programmes which will be expanded by 500 000 new people a year. We also appreciate the expenditure of R39 billion on 1 879 hospitals and other health facility projects, and the fact that R26 billion is allocated for this similar purpose over the next three years.
While we appreciate this allocation, however, it is our view that the minister could have been more articulate and specific in as far as budget allocation for the employment of new nurses over and above the R1.2 billion budgeted for employment of general practitioners’ contracts in the National Health Insurance (NHI) pilot sites, least the conclusion is that the government will not be conservative in this aspect in the next three to five years, which will be a concern.
While there are no set norms and standards in as far as nurse-to-patient ratios in the country as yet, it is DENOSA’s honest view that these ratios are extremely and disturbingly high currently in our health facilities where patients have to wait for hours in long queues due to less number of nurses in a facility, and the sooner this is addressed through absorption of qualified nurses, the better the quality of public health service the 84 percent South Africans will receive.
We also welcome the announcement by minister that the White paper on NHI has been completed and that it will be tabled soon. DENOSA’s position is still clear that NHI is the appropriate vehicle that will bring about equal quality of health service to South Africans as well as to bring down the costs of health service in a country as unequal as South Africa where the majority of people still live in poverty with no means to afford quality health.
Furthermore, DENOSA appreciate the progress that the Chief Procurement Office has made already, which includes among other things the centralised procurement of health equipment, drugs and medicines to effect savings; standardisation of infrastructure procurement processes and documentation; as well as the analysis of the business interests of government employees as a way of avoiding conflicts of interests. Equally, this work will be complemented by the work of the newly-established Office of Health Standards Compliance.
DENOSA’s position is that the quality of health in the country can only be realised in an environment where there are enough health professionals in facilities, sufficient equipment and resources in health facilities for health workers to work with, as well as sufficient supply of drugs and timeous payment of suppliers and health workers. This environment makes up a positive practice environment, which DENOSA and South Africa Medical Association (SAMA) are campaigning for as health professionals.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)
For more information, contact:
Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa
Tel: 012 343 2315
Mobile: 079 875 2663
For more about the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa, refer to www.denosa.org.za