The theatre nurses of Katutura Hospital recently held an internal meeting to raise issues and come up with solutions for those issues. They addressed the current working conditions in the theatre and the way forward.
One of the main issues that was addressed was that the theatre was under staffed, and that in this month alone, the theatre lost 4 staff members who resigned and they have not been replaced yet. This means the work load has increased even more for the remaining staff members. A source told the Economist that at the moment there is only one nurse and one staff nurse at the maternity theatre, which is a very risky situation as the normal staff should be four. This is a stressful situation for the over worked nurses who are always being blamed for the situation by the patients.
The nurses suggested some solutions to this cumbersome situation. They suggested that two nurses from the night duty be brought to day duty to cover for the shortage. They also suggested that one theatre be closed so that the staff can be distributed to the other Theatres, and that doctors should be told to book their patients in a reasonable time frame.
The group said that their situation is so dire that nurse are being called as late as 00:00 on their off days to come and work because there is a shortage of staff and this puts the Matron in a lot of strain and pressure, while the work they do is already straining them.
They also suggested that Central Hospital should start operating like Katutura Hospital inorder to release the pressure on the staff at Katutura Hospital. The nurses questioned why Central Hospital does not operate the same way as Katutura yet they are both government hospitals. Administration is yet to respond to that question.
The theatre nurses asked for a meeting with all the stakeholders involved and are yet to receive the date for the meeting. Dr Amagulu, the Senior Medical Superintendent has stated before that staff members, especially the theatre staff are claiming excessive overtime allowances which has lead to an overtime overspending of N$58 million and should not be the case.