National Hospital Network Press release, October 2009 Unions deflect attention from real issues in the healthcare sector ‘Union initiatives to ban labour brokers have highlighted the chronic nurse shortages ‘, says Ken Ford, a Director of the National Hospital Network. ‘All hospitals, both private and public, are heavily dependent on temporary nurses supplied by nursing agencies. Nursing agencies are classified as labour brokers and would be forced to close if the proposed ban becomes law,’ he said. According to the Association of Nursing Agencies of SA (Anasa) between 80 and 85% of nursing staff, especially in public hospitals, are from nursing agencies. ‘There is unanimous agreement that there is a shortage of nurses in South Africa. According to latest figures, there are nearly 42 000 vacancies for nurses in the public sector and vacancies of nearly 15 000 in the private sector. ‘A research document from the Development Bank of Southern Africa, ‘Roadmap for the Reform of the Health System’ estimates that if the public sector employment trends had continued from a baseline in 1997, the public sector should actually employ 80 000 more people than they it does at present. More concerning , figures from the South African Nursing Council suggest that more nurses are reaching retirement age and leaving the profession than those joining,’ says Ford. ‘It is clear that nursing agencies have served a pivotal role in the supply of nursing staff in recent years. If the ban comes into force, hospitals would have to close wards due to lack of staff,’ he predicted. ‘And yet in the midst of all this, the Department of Health has placed a moratorium on the registration of training courses offered by the private sector. We can only guess that this might be linked to recently announced plans from the Department of Health to re‐open nursing colleges. ‘We have an emergency situation, and both government and private have to contribute to training more nurses. This simply cannot be jealously guarded territory,’ he said. Press Release issued by Collingwood Consulting Liz Jackson: 082 3232 625 For more information please contact Ken Ford Director, National Hospital Network cel: 082 8942317 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Notes for editors * The National Hospital Network was founded in 1996 with the objective of bringing together independently owned private hospitals under one umbrella with a view to gaining synergy from the relationship. * NHN currently has 88 members, consisting of general hospitals, day clinics, psychiatric hospitals, ophthalmology clinics and sub acute facilities. The demographic footprint includes the major urban areas of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth and Durban as well as hospitals in disadvantaged areas. * These include the following: Broad Road Surgical Clinic, Citymed Theatre, Edenvale Day Clinic, Fauchard Clinic, Fordsburg Day Clinic, Kango Clinic, Kilnerpark Anaesthetic Clinic, Lowveld Day Hospital, Mayo Clinic, Medgate Day Clinic, Medkin Clinic, Merci Doc Day Clinic, Arwyp Medical Centre, Bay View Hospital, Bellville Medical Centre, Cairnhall Hospital, Ceres Private Hospital, Cormed Clinic, Daxina Medical Clinic, Daymed Private Hospital, Ernest Oppenheimer Hospital, Evander Gold Mining Hospital, Gatesville Medical Centre, Hibiscus Private Hospital, La Verna Hospital, Lenmed Clinic, Leslie Williams Private Hospital, Louis Pasteur Hospital, Matatiele Private Hospital, Medfem Clinic Pty Ltd, Midlands Medical Centre, Midvaal Private Hospital, Mitchell’s Plain Medical Centre, Mooimed Hospital, Nongoma Private Hospital, Nu‐Shifa Hospital, Pretoria Urology, Riemland Clinic, Sir Albert Medical Centre, St Helena Hospital, Star Choice Trd Fortyone Benmed Park Clinic, Sunningdale Hospital, Sunshine Hospital, Vryburg Private Hospital, Wilmed Park Private Hospital, Zamakuhle Private Hospital, Zoutpansberg Medical Centre, Zuid Afrikaans Hospital, Aurora Hospital, Cape Eye Hospital, Centurion Eye Hospital, Eye and Laser Institute, Johannesburg Eye Hospital, Ocumed Eye and Laser Institute, Optimed Eye and Laser Clinic, Pretoria Eye Institute, Rustenburg Private Eye Clinic, Sandhurst Eye Clinic, The Healthy Eye, Visiomed Eye and Laser Clinic, Bloemcare (Pty) Ltd, Claro Clinic, Crescent Clinic – Cpt, Crescent Clinic Gauteng, Denmar Clinic, Kenilworth Clinic, Pines Lifeskills Clinic, Sereno Clinic, Stepping Stones Addiction Centre, Tijger Clinic, Visita Clinic, Hillandale Health Care Centre, M‐Care Nelspruit (Pty) Ltd, Mare Botha Multi Sorg Eenheid (Pty) Ltd, trading as Multi Care Potchefstroom. * NHNetwork has a board of directors who are determined to ensure that the 79 member hospitals proved superior service and a cost effective option for medical schemes and their members. * Board members of National Hospital Network include the following: Dr. Ismail Shreef (Chairman), Otto Wypkema (NHN CEO), Mr. Ahmed Nana, Mr. Firoze Habib, Mr. Ken Ford, Mr. Ridwaan Allie, Mr. Richard Mills and Mr Anton Rossouw. * For more details about NHN check the website: www.nhn.co.za or send an email to email@example.com or telephone 011/ 394 2199.