Concerns About Shortage of Healthcare Workers in KZN Amid Covid-19 Pandemic

The IFP in KwaZulu-Natal is concerned about the shortage of healthcare workers at Addington Hospital amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was evident during the unannounced special Health Portfolio Committee oversight visit, held yesterday at Addington Hospital at the request of the IFP, after it was reliably informed that there is a shortage of healthcare workers at Addington Hospital. During the meeting, the hospital management agreed that there is a dire shortage of nurses, porters and cleaners. We were told that the Hospital was allocated 44 nurses specifically for Covid-19 but this is not enough, as they are divided into a night shift and a day shift. The Hospital does not have cleaning staff and porters in the Covid-19 section of the hospital. Nurses cannot be expected to perform their duties while at the same time being expected to become porters and cleaners. The shortage of healthcare workers will exacerbate the spread of Covid-19.

The IFP is aware that President Cyril Ramaphosa also highlighted the challenges being faced by the healthcare system, such as a shortage of 12 000 healthcare workers. This includes nurses and doctors but we call for an urgent intervention. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, KwaZulu-Natal was already facing a shortage of healthcare workers. The failure to address the shortage of healthcare workers in hospitals amid Covid-19 pandemic is nothing but a recipe for disaster. The Solidarity Fund – created to help support SA’s health and welfare response to the Covid-19 crisis – should be used to employ more healthcare workers.

There are many unemployed healthcare graduates and trainees who are sitting at home. This country is teeming with corrupt public officials and politically-connected people on a crusade to embezzle public funds during this pandemic. Therefore, it can not be said that there are not adequate funds to address this urgent crisis in our hospitals. Public funds must be spent on employing more staff and addressing the demands of the healthcare system in the fight against Covid-19 – rather than allowing the corrupt to divert these funds into their own pockets.

The IFP calls upon the KZN MEC of Health, to urgently address the shortage of healthcare workers at Addington Hospital without further delay.

The IFP will further pursue this matter by submitting written questions to the KZN MEC for Health, Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu. We want answers about how much funding was allocated for the Covid-19 response, in respect of the procurement of PPE and the employment of additional healthcare workers.

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