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AfriForum: Red tape keeping private nursing colleges in stranglehold despite dire nursing shortage

Photo by Bloomberg

2nd November 2016

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Accredited private nursing colleges are experiencing a crisis due to the South African Nursing Council (SANC) that suspended courses at these colleges in June 2015 already and are dragging their feet to phase in two new qualifications.

The SANC started with the accreditation process for the new nursing qualifications in 2012 already, but four years later no nursing college is accredited yet – this includes the private hospital groups.

Thomas van Dalen, AfriForum’s Provincial Coordinator for the Western Cape, describes the situation as a disaster for the country’s health sector.

“The delay with the SANC, that must accredit the qualifications, and with the Department of Higher Education, that must register private institutions, will bring about that no new nurses will be trained in the foreseeable future and on top of that many are leaving the country.”

According to Van Dalen various private nursing colleges have already been accredited at the Council for Higher Education (CHE) and registered with the South African Qualification Authority (Saqa), but the department refuses to acknowledge the institutions and the gap that they could fill in the training of nurses.

Van Dalen continues to add that private nursing colleges train up to 60% of the country’s nurses.

“If these institutions cannot continue with training, it will bring about that their personnel could also lose their jobs and the colleges would possibly have to shut their doors.”

Van Dalen says a major problem is that the department did away with the presentation of previous qualifications at private institutions, but allow nursing colleges of the state to continue with the presentation of previous qualifications.

Van Dalen wrote letters to dr. Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, and dr. Aaron Motsoaledi, Minister of Health, and pointed out the consequences of the dilemma. It leads to:
a. The shortage of nursing personnel in hospitals increasing with rapid strides, which would plunge the sector into a further unsustainable situation;
b.  Thousands of potential job opportunities in the health sector not being utilised;
c.  A great deal of the private nursing colleges possibly having to close their doors, which will result in extremely qualified and experienced lecturers having to find refuge elsewhere and therefore becoming lost to the industry; and
d. Nursing as a field of study has for the greater part not been available to school leavers since June 2015.

This has drastic long-term implications for nursing in the country, Van Dalen concludes.

 

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