MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN NURSING COUNCIL - Ms. J.N. Makhanya on the nurses partaking in the industrial action
As a statutory body mandated to serve and protect the public on matters relating to health services generally and nursing in particular, we note with sadness incidences where users of public health facilities have not been able to exercise their constitutional rights to access to health care.
We are aware that there are dedicated nurses who want to continue providing services essential for saving lives and alleviating suffering especially amongst the vulnerable groups that include people on chronic medication, pregnant women, newborn babies and people that are on life saving therapies. We appeal that these nurses be assured of safety of their lives while exercising their professional, ethical, and moral obligation to save lives and allowed space to provide care to our patients.
We also want to remind even those that are partaking in this life threatening industrial action of the Nurse’s Pledge that says:
"The total health of our patients will be our first consideration"
We commend the volunteers and those working outside government who heeded the call and in the interest of saving lives and alleviation of undue suffering, stepped in and provided their services.
We also would like to remind the whole nursing fraternity that their right to strike does not supersede their professional and moral responsibility to be of service to the consumers of health care.
We commend measures that have been put in place, i.e., the court interdict, to deal with intimidation and look forward to interventions that would ensure that patients are not denied their right to health care services.
Lastly, we appeal to the government as an employer and the unions to work together to speedily resolve this dispute that has and continues to threaten the lives of our patients.
Let us all remember that Health is a Human Right!