South Africa, like the rest of the world, is currently facing a shortage of nurses, says private hospital group Life Healthcare.
Health Minister Joe Phaahla this week warned South Africa faces a severe shortage of health workers, pointing to a doctor-patient ratio of 1 doctor for every 3,198 people. Phaahla described it as a “shocking state of affairs”.
South African Medical Association President Dr Mvuyisi Mzukwa, meanwhile, said the figure lays bare South Africa’s health problems, namely that the sector is understaffed, overworked, and the money set aside. equipment or patient care is channeled elsewhere.
Phaahla acknowledged the need for more health workers in his budget speech and said at least R7.5 billion was earmarked for the hiring and training of community health workers and medical interns over the next two financial years.
It said 2,429 medical interns and community service personnel – including doctors, nurses and pharmacists – were employed during the current exercise and progress is being made regarding stability in the employment of more than 47,000 community health workers .
R2.1 billion was allocated over the next two financial years for medical trainees and R5.4 billion was allocated in the next financial year to support various aspects of health professions training in the provinces, including additional staff where needed, he said.
Nursing in focus
Data published by the South African Nursing Council in 2021 shows that the country has a nursing staff contingent of around 280,000 nurses, equivalent to one for every 213 people. At the end of December 2020, there were over 21,000 nurses in training.
Life Healthcare said that in 2022, however, the country needs an additional 26,000 nurses to meet the growing demand.
“Nurses have been at the forefront of efforts to combat Covid-19 for over two years. They are understandably exhausted and require our support as they continue to provide quality care to our patients, ”the group said.
“Our nurses are very tired. The waves they have experienced since 2019 have really had an impact on them. But despite that, they still show up, come to work, take care of our patients. So only with them doing it, is there hope. “
Life Healthcare Group said it has undertaken an extensive training program to meet demand and aims to increase the number of nurses it is training to 3,000 per year.
“It is up to the government and healthcare stakeholders to address the shortage faced in South Africa. This means accelerating new educational requirements and processes that allow the private sector to make a significant contribution to the nursing profession, ”the group said.
“Although the public and private sectors offer nursing education programs, they need to be accelerated to meet demand. We are currently limited with the number of students we can register in our programs due to the introduction of the new qualifications, “she said.
What nurses get paid in South Africa
At the low-end, in an entry-level position, salaries are R150,000 for a year, while the high-end salaries for specialist nurses can go as high as R600,000.
More official monitoring of nursing salary data can be found through the salaries of public service nurses
Like many other public service workers, nurses in South Africa have not benefited from massive wage increases in the past two years, with the third year of negotiated wage agreements (2021) between unions and the government having fallen due to an incremental increase in wage. salary.
As of July 2021, public service employees have seen only a 1.5% increase in salaries, with a small cash bonus offered to those in lower pay brackets.
Among nurses, nursing assistants remain the lowest wages between R134,514 and R233,763 per year – or R11,200 to R19,500 per month.
The top earners, meanwhile, are nursing executives and executive educators, who can earn up to R1.08 million per year (R90,300 per month).
The table below outlines some of the main nursing roles and their pay.
|role||Wage scale||Minimum (lowest grade)||Maximum (maximum grade)|
|Nursing Assistant (Grades 1 – 3)||1 – 8||R134 514||R233 763|
|Personal Nurse (Grade 1 – 3)||1 – 8||R173 952||R302 292|
|Community Service Nurse||1||R213 930||R213 930|
|General Nursing Practitioner (Grades 1 – 3)||1 – 6||R260 760||R492 756|
|Specialized Nursing Practitioner (Grade 1 and 2)||1 – 6||R388 974||R588 390|
|Nursing teacher||1 – 10||R388 974||R624 216|
|Assistant Nursing Manager||1 – 6||R571 242||R662 223|
|Head of Nursing||1 – 6||R588 390||R682 098|
|Assistant Nursing Manager||1 – 5||R856 272||R963 723|
|Vice Dean of Nursing||1 – 5||R856 272||R963 723|
|Executive nurse||1 – 5||R963 723||R1 084 695|
|Dean of Nursing||1 – 5||R963 723||R1 084 695|