Thursday December 14, 2017

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STATEMENT BY THE RT HON PRIME MINISTER

 

DR B. SIBUSISO DLAMINI

 

OPENING PRIME MINISTER’S INTER-MINISTERIAL CONSULTATION WITH THE SWAZILAND NURSING COUNCIL, SWAZILAND HIGHER EDUCATION COUNCIL, GOVERNMENT HOSPITAL MANAGERS AND MATRONS, AND REPRESENTATIVES OF ALLIED PROFESSIONS

 

AT THE CABINET OFFICES

 

MONDAY 3 JULY 2017

 

Honourable Ministers

Honourable Attorney-General

Members of the Swaziland Nursing Council

Representative of the Swaziland Higher Education Council

Government hospital managers and matrons

Representatives of allied professions

Other invited officials

Representatives of the Media

Ladies and gentlemen

It is my honour, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, to welcome you here today, for the inter-Ministerial consultations with the Swaziland Nursing Council, the Swaziland Higher Education Council, and a number of the hospital managers and matrons working in Government hospitals.

Today’s consultation is a continuation of the process that commenced in which task teams were created to examine selected areas of our national health services in order to resolve operational problems that affected negatively the quality of service to the people of our country.  During our consultation on 26 June 2017 I indicated that, to complete Cabinet’s exercise on health care, it might be necessary to appoint a further task team, to investigate nursing services and patient care.

We have, indeed, decided to hold that consultation here today to discuss the issue of nursing services and patient care, in which standards are understood to have fallen in some of our medical centres in recent times.  We have, for example, received reports of individuals sleeping under the hospital beds of sick relatives, owing to a lack of confidence in the quality of patient care by nursing staff. 

Whilst we understand this to be only a recent phenomenon it cannot be allowed to continue. It does not happen in our ICUs nor in the private sector clinics except, in the latter case, perhaps where there is a patient who is seriously ill.  But it is essential that relatives of patients in all our hospitals are left feeling that the patients in in good hands.

That issue, together with a number of other matters that may be relevant to ensuring a high quality of care for our patients, are why you have been invited today for consultations.  Our discussions will focus on the agenda that was circulated before this meeting.  A number of matters require urgent examination. 

We ask you to contribute to the brainstorming of the session that we will start shortly, giving your views and suggestions on matters ranging from the terms and conditions of nurses to supervision arrangements and promotion procedures.  These areas are listed in the Agenda. 

The training of nurses should also be discussed and, for instance, whether that includes too much theory and insufficient practical work.  There is no shortage of scholarships allocated for nursing and we have increased the number of institutions that cater for that discipline.  There are perhaps other reasons for the apparent deficiencies reported about the standard of nursing care. 

On the subject of training, let us also include discussion of the enabling legislation.  The 1965 Nurses and Midwives Act, implemented from 12 September 1967, gives authority to the Swaziland Nursing Council on matters relating to training programmes for nurses, and the relevant training institutions.   It has, however, been brought to my attention that the Swaziland Higher Education Council Act of 2013 gives authority to that Council in respect of the same issue.  My understanding is that later legislation should supersede an earlier statute where there is duplication of that nature.  This matter should be clarified but, whatever the outcome, the Nursing Council should not ignore the Higher Education Council when making decisions on matters relating to the training of nurses.   

It is expected that a further task team will be appointed by Cabinet.  Your preliminary views will be appreciated at today’s meeting, and more comprehensive ones submitted to the new task team.

There is also the need to define the code of conduct which includes the grievance procedures, and we will appreciate recommendations on these issues.

  

At the end of the meeting, as the Agenda shows, there will be a summary of the views and suggestions put forward today to enable us to take the proposals to Cabinet tomorrow.  We believe that an inter-Ministerial task team will guide us towards achieving a high quality service in patient care in our hospitals.  In the event that Cabinet approves the appointment of the task team, your comments today will be of considerable assistance in finalizing the respective terms of reference for its assignment.

It is now my pleasure to proceed with the Agenda and the discussion items listed therein.

Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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