The Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) says it sympathises with the call by Cosatu and Nehawu in the North West for a total shut down of services in the province.

Motlalepule Maikepa, Denosa Provincial Chairperson says in many hospitals patients have to share beds while hospitals in sub districts have to operate without water at times. She says the lack of medication and infrastructure as well as the fact that hospitals do not have functional backup generators expose patients to life threatening situations on a daily basis.

“The situation in the North West has reached a point of no return for nurses who have been abused, exploited, neglected and deserted.”

According to Maikepa nurses are at times using their cell-phones and torches to deliver babies in some of the provincial hospitals in the province.

“The linen crisis is so prevalent that patients are utilizing their own linen and blankets from home and infection control measures are not observed. Smelling mortuaries with bodies of more than 150 days in some district hospital has become the norm while mortuary attendants and nurses are supposed to wheel the deceased patients to such areas. This is total cruelty to humankind,”she added.

Maikepa says Denosa strongly condemns the dire situation in province and is adamant that nurses will no longer tolerate such treatment. “They [the nurses] have compromised a lot because of the oath that they took but now they have been taken for a ride. They are human beings before they are nurses. They deserve better. Denosa is currently exploring all legal options to put a stop to this situation,” she says.