Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana,MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health


The IFP appeals to health professionals to work hard on improving their attitude for them to perform better no matter what challenges they might be facing in their work places.

This comes after a 8 month pregnant woman was allegedly turned away by nurses at Buxedeni clinic in Nongoma which resulted to her to give birth in a taxi.

The biggest problem that we have in this country is the attitude towards service by our health practitioners. Many South Africans have lost confidence in the health staff because of the mistreatment patients receive. I urge practioners to change for the better.

Nursing is not a profession for the faint-hearted and requires top-notch dedication and commitment. We are no longer in the footsteps of Florence Nightingale, the woman with a lamp, lighting the way for the nursing profession.
Nowadays we are choosing the career because of unemployment just to get a job. Choosing to enter the nursing profession would prove difficult for those who did not have an “inner calling for it”.

We argue that impolite utterances impede rather than promote the realization of other fundamental human rights. It appears that nurses’ impoliteness does not merely constitute rudeness, but encodes a violation of dignity which, in turn, hampers the chances of enjoyment of broader human rights.

We further argue that, for patients to enjoy their rights in the health sector setting, a clear definition of roles and relationships and public education on strategies of asserting their rights without intimidation are necessary.

Despite clear policy statements, public perception in South Africa still points to blatant violation of patients’ rights through verbal abuse.
Nurses are the gatekeepers of doctors’ operations, and also serve as patients’ advocates. Their actions and utterances therefore determine the extent of patients’ access to health and have for many times frustrated patients’ right to access to health, which is a basic human right.

In order for the KZN’s patients’ service charter to have practical meaning for both patients and nurses, better training in advocacy skills for the nurses is pertinent. Patients should also be sensitized on desirable strategies for asserting their rights in a manner that does not threaten the dignity of nurses nor impinge upon official nursing duties.

Accordingly, to promote a better provision of healthcare services, the KZN’ health sector is in need of a serious overhaul because the people who are mandated to administer healthcare services are not working efficiently.

Observably, there has been a growing tendency among health personnel in Government hospitals not to adequately offer the required healthcare services to patients.

Government has in the past strived to change the status quo through measures such as the improvement of conditions of service, but still this poor attitude towards work does not seem to change at all.

What is even more concerning is that health personnel in this country are struggling to leave up to the requirements of their “noble and selfless” profession.

This unfortunately means chances are that even fresh graduates from the school of medicine, when engaged into service, may portray the same approach of negligence when attending to patients.

We have often heard people narrate how their relatives nearly or actually died due to negligence by a nurse whose role was to simply act quickly and rescue the sick person.
More stories are told of how nurses sleep on duty while a patient cries for a glass of water to take their medication.

The KZN MEC of Health,Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu needs to seriously collaborate with health workers’ unions to rebrand the attitude and commitment of health workers to improve service delivery in the sector.

Such attitude should not be tolerated. We have entered into the New Year and action must start now.

Nurses with bad attitudes must be kicked out of their jobs when the National Health Insurance comes into effect. When the NHI is up and running, there must be no holy cows. We must slaughter every cow – from a nurse to a hospital manager. NHI cannot work if we have nurses with bad attitude.

The IFP calls upon the KZN MEC of Health, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu to urgently investigate and take necessary action against any nurses found to be involved in turning away a pregnant woman at Buxedeni clinic.

The IFP further commend, Mr Nhlonipho Zulu, a taxi driver who assisted the woman to deliver a baby in his taxi and the community members who assisted him when he called for help.
We urge other taxi drivers to emulate what Zulu has done of treating his passengers with care, dignity and respect.

Lastly,we therefore propose that the KZN Department of Health and the KZN Department of Transport should consider the importance of training taxi drivers on first aid and other health matters.

Mrs Ncamisile Nkwanyana,MPL
IFP KZN Provincial Spokesperson on Health
078 302 3991