n South African Medical Journal - Will the Department of Health and the Minister make the same mistake twice? : correspondence

Volume 103, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



In the early 1990s, a landmark decision was made by the South African Nursing Council (SANC), and supported by the Department of Health, to close down all adult-education vocational-training nursing colleges in favour of higher education (HE) institutions. Fast-forward 20 years and this 'well-meaning' decision has now plunged South Africa (SA) into its largest shortage of trained nurses in history, referred to in many newspapers and press reports as the 'crisis in nursing'. Even the Minister of Health (MoH) and the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) have admitted that the closing of nursing colleges was a huge mistake. As a result, many previously closed colleges have been reopened in a desperate attempt to supply our hospitals with trained nursing staff, at a multi-million Rand cost to the taxpayer. Emergency medical services (EMS) are about to follow the same disastrous path.

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