Health workers complain about poor working conditions

Image: Gallo images/Sowetan/Sandile Ndlovu

Healthcare workers who spoke to Sowetan anonymously ahead of International Nurses Day today have lamented their working conditions in hospitals and clinics in Gauteng.

The International Nurses Day is observed around the world each year today, to mark the contributions that nurses make to society.

A nurse from a government hospital in Pretoria said after seven years in the health sector there was little to celebrate for being a healthcare worker.

"We are underpaid and working in times where we can die any time because we are essential workers during the Covid-19 pandemic," she said.

The woman said her passion to help people in need of healthcare was the only thing that has kept her in her job.

"We work with very sick people who come from different historical backgrounds.

"As essential workers we always put our lives in danger but we don't get risk allowance and full PPE [personal protective equipment]," said the nurse. She said due to shortage of staff at her hospital, she was forced to work extra shifts.

Another nurse from a clinic in Daveyton, on the East Rand, said although she worked in a smaller facility she had more pressure because of the high number of patients needing care.

"The clinic I work at caters for many people, and because there are mushrooming informal settlements everywhere we never have enough staff," said the nurse.

The nurse said the clinic has long queues and some people are turned away when it's time to close.

"We also have cases that cannot be accommodated at clinic level because our clinic is small and has no facilities."

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