With the final implementation of National Health Insurance (NHI) fast approaching, the need for skilled nurses is in sharp focus and there is uncertainty on whether SA will be able to fill the gap in time.Dr Sue Armstrong, a senior nursing lecturer at Wits University, told delegates to the Hospital Association of SA conference on Tuesday that NHI required a functional district health-care system to be effective. This was because prevention, early detection and disease treatment were done in district health systems, which would not run effectively without the required number of nurses. "The major concern is that the professional nurses are an ageing group. If one takes population growth into consideration, not as many professional nurses are currently being trained as are retiring," she said. At the heart of the problem is that there has been a delay in South African Nursing Council (SANC) approvals for private nursing education institutions. The government trains 73% of SA's n...

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