Citizen reporter
2 minute read
26 Dec 2020
1:37 pm

Unemployed nurses called upon to assist in Western Cape hospitals

Citizen reporter

The Western Cape Department of Health is offering short-term employment contracts for nurses.

Nurses walk inside a quarantine room at the finished but still unused building A2 of the Shanghai Public Clinical Center, where COVID-19 coronavirus patients will be quarantined, in Shanghai on February 17, 2020. Picture: Noel CELIS / POOL / AFP

While the Western Cape recorded the highest proportion of new cases detected in the past week, the province is seeking to hire more nurses amid staff shortages in hospitals.

This is after it was reported that more than 761 healthcare workers tested positive for Covid-19 in the past week.

Western Cape Alan Winde previously indicated that the province’s biggest challenge was the increasing Covid-19 infection rate among healthcare workers and the impact on staff member isolation and quarantine.

The number of people willing to volunteer has also decreased, Winde said.

Speaking on CapeTalk, Red Cross Children’s Memorial Hospital chief executive officer (CEO) Dr Anita Parbhoo appealed for unemployed nurses to return to work.

READ MORE: Western Cape health MEC slammed for holidaying as health workers struggle to cope

“We are looking for nursing staff across the board. Depending on the care patients need, we need different categories of staff.”

Parbhoo said the Western Cape Department of Health is offering short-term employment contracts for nurses.

“So we are not even saying come in and work for free. We are really desperate to get more nursing staff on board.

“That is so different about the second wave hearing people on the ground in the different facilities, is that at the beginning of the first wave we watched what was going on overseas, we anticipated what was happening here…and so staff at that time still had energy and ideas.

“Now we don’t have the full complement of staff….and staff is absolutely exhausted both physically and emotionally.”

Listen to the interview below:

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According to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), the increase in the number of cases in the Western Cape in recent weeks was driven by a resurgence in Covid-19 cases reported mostly from the Garden Route.

“The incidence risk in week 50 (438.9 cases per 100 000 persons) was higher than the peak weekly incidence risk during the first wave (179.9 cases per 100 000 persons) in week 30.

“All the districts in the Western Cape reported weekly incidence risks in week 50 higher than those reported in the first wave peaks,” the NICD report stated.

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