The Pretoria News
A separate unit dedicated to investigating illegal and backstreet abortion facilities may be needed to root out the increasing number of suspicious abortion facilities posing a danger to women's and public health.
Despite an agreement to stop active recruitment for the national public service in the United Kingdom, South Africa was still haemorrhaging healthcare professionals as the agreement precluded the private sector whose recruitment agencies continued to troll large academic hospitals for staff.
More than a third of the nursing posts at the Pretoria Academic Hospital are vacant and nurses continue to leave. This was revealed by the assistant director at the hospital, Dr Kobie Marais, who said the drop in staff numbers was a clear indication of how the exodus of nurses from state hospitals to private hospitals or out of the country was affecting major hospitals like Pretoria Academic. Other hospitals like Ga-Rankuwa and Kalafong have also seen an exodus of nurses in recent months but it seems that Academic is the hardest hit with 550 vacancies. The hospital has provision for a total nursing complement of 1 600. She said the hospital, like many others in the province, was currently understaffed and people overworked. This year alone, the hospital lost 57 nurses, 22 of whom left for the private sector or hospitals abroad. In Kalafong, 17 nurses have resigned in the past six months, while Ga-Rankuwa lost 34 nurses. The hospitals each have a complement of 900 and 1 500 respectively. Marais said the Academic had to pay between R1,8-million and R2-million a month to agencies that supply them with extra contract nurses. She said units like maternity, ICU and theatres - which needed skilled and experienced nurses - were finding it particularly hard to cope. Sister Lorraine Verven, of the emergency unit, has been working at the hospital for 23 years. She said she had noticed how the workload had increased as more and more staff resigned from the hospital. Verven said that instead of 52 nursing staff that the unit required, there were only 40 nurses. This meant that they had to work as much as 10 hours more overtime than usual trying to keep up with the workload. They normally do about 48 hours overtime a week.(Source: Noloyiso Mchunu: The Pretoria News, 22 August 2003)