The Democratic Nursing Organisatiion of South Africa (DENOSA) finds it unfair and as mischievous the submissions by private hospital groups to the inquiry into the Private Health high costs, especially when they attribute nurse salaries as the single high cost driver of their fees.
While costs towards salaries of nurses are always bound to increase, DENOSA believes this is the mere science of maths in hospital set-ups and costing because nurses are majority health professionals in a facility. In their submissions, private hospitals are not making any case that excessive number of nurses is hired in institutions as justification for high costs, whereas they are not paying higher salaries than public sector.
DENOSA is on record as raising its concerns about the shortage of nurses in South Africa. Therefore shifting the blame towards nurses’ salary when they don’t even match the public sector salaries of nurses, as they claim, is their way of making nurses the scapegoat and this makes DENOSA concerned, especially when most private hospitals make use of brokerage staff whereby they employ nurses on a temporary basis, and often make use of nurses who are employed elsewhere.
DENOSA challenges private hospitals to close shops if their business models are solely based on underpayment of health professionals, who are the engine of their core business by the way. We doubt if this will ever happen as they actually make huge profits.
Contrary to the hospitals’ claim in their submissions, they have been reporting superior profits, often more than mining companies. These profits are declared after expenditure costs have been accounted for, including salaries of nurses. The history of annual earnings of the private health facilities is there for itself to prove this.
For example, Netcare gave 7.25% increase to nurses’ salaries in 2013 and 7% in 2014. In November last year, CEO at Netcare, Richard Friedland, announced a 16.1% revenue and an increase of 19% in headline earnings per share for 2013, driven by high demand in private healthcare service in South Africa. As a response to this solid revenue, Netcare doubled its capital expenditure to R2bn for 2014, fromR1.2 billion in 2013. Proof of this is here.
Medi-Clinic offered a salary increase of between 7-8% in 2014 while they reported a first-half profit of 19% in May 2014.
DENOSA would like to urge private hospitals to provide an account of the break-down of their costs, and take into account the profit they make which translates into billions of declared dividends among shareholders, and which also goes towards expansion plans.
DENOSA is also concerned about utilisation of elementary staff to do nursing duties, which compromises patient care and the usage of lower categories nurses beyond their scope of practice. DENOSA urges private sector to invest in professional development of those workers who qualify to be utilised correctly.
Issued by the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (DENOSA)

News Reporter