Category Archives: Blog

Why a career in healthcare is still a good call

Johannesburg – It’s someone with a very specific nature that joins the medical service and social development fields. When you decide to become a medical professional or a social worker, you do it because you want to help people and because you have compassion for those around you.

“Caring for those who are unable to do so themselves, is a noble profession; it’s a profession that should be praised and honoured by all,” says Mr Mpumelelo Sibiya, the Public Health and Social Development Sectoral Bargaining Council (PHSDSBC) General Secretary.

Unfortunately, these jobs are being pursued less and less. According to the South African Nursing Council, there is one nurse for every 398 South African citizens; and almost 50% of the registered nurses are between 50 and 69 years old, while only 5% is under 30.

According to the Health Professions Council of South Africa, there are 226 145 medical professionals (excluding nurses) in South Africa, which sounds like a lot; however, the Gauteng government recorded 22 037 115 clinic visits in 2017 alone. That is 22 037 115 recorded visits only in Gauteng and only at clinics. Just imagine what the number would be if we looked at the whole country and opened the search to non-recorded cases, hospitals, GPs and specialist visits. And we’re not even talking about the number of social work cases we have in the country!

“In general, people in the public health and social services industries are already overworked, as there is a greater need for help than there are people who can deliver it. If the number of people in these sectors doesn’t increase – it is frightening to think what will happen. The fact of the matter is, from specialists to supporting staff, without people at these posts, lives are in danger,” comments Sibiya.

We see a lot of unrest amongst medical professionals, especially in the public sector regarding disputes that range from working hours to salaries. It’s no secret that these issues stand out like a red flag when it comes to making career choices. But with the right tools and protocols, these need not be escalated to such extreme levels, such as striking.

The PHSDSBC is an authoritative body that handles work disputes on behalf of medical and social development practitioners. One of the PHSDSBC’s goal is to create a beneficial working relationship between the employee and the employer.

“More often than not, these are thankless and hard jobs, but we’ve also seen the joy they can bring to people who are meant for or called to do them. For this reason, the PHSDSBC will do everything we can to ensure a just resolution is reached between the parties involved, in each case we receive. We step in as an impartial body, assess the charges and negotiate an appropriate and peaceful conclusion,” says Sibiya.

The PHSDSBC ensures that there is an amicable working relationship between the employee and employer, by coordinating negotiations between the government and the trade unions for better working conditions for the employee, so that the employee may perform optimally, for the employer’s benefit, and inadvertently for the public at large.

So, answer the call. If you crave a career where you can care for people and help them, don’t let anything stand in your way to join the medical or social development workforce in South Africa. Rest assured that you’ll never be alone; the PHSDSBC is always here to help you fight for a better working environment.

You can reach the PHSDSBC by calling 0860 747 322, emailing servicedesk@phsdsbc.org.za or visiting www.phsdsbc.org.za for more information.

REPORT ON FORENSIC PATHOLOGY SERVICES: 19 – 23 MARCH 2018

Forensic pathology services fell under the ambit of the South African Police Services (SAPS). A signed memorandum of understanding amongst the National Department of Health (NDoH), Department of Public Works and SAPS, in 2006, transferred the responsibility from SAPS to the Department of Health (DoH)

Subsequently, the Council concluded Resolution 2 of 2010; the objective of the resolution, being to introduce an Occupational Specific Dispensation (OSD), remuneration and career progression for therapeutic, diagnostic and related allied health professionals.

Forensic Pathology Officers (FPOs) are also part of the allied health professionals. The implementation of this resolution had created disparities amongst the FPOs, resulting in inconsistences across the various provinces.

Consequently, the trade unions requested the Council, to review the resolution in order to deal with its unintended effects. The primary concern of the implementation was the downward variation of the salary structure, from levels five (5) and six (6), to a model made up of only two (2) grades; one (1) and two (2) respectively. Whereas, the previous salary structure had four (4) levels to progress in; not only levels five (5) and six (6), but also seven (7) and eight (8) at supervisory positions. The new model eliminated the latter two (2) levels and combined all these levels into only two (2) grades, i.e. one (1) and two (2).

As a result, those FPOs who occupied supervisory positions, such as a senior FPO at level seven (7) and a chief FPO at level eight (8), had to be paid personal notches, and accept that their careers had reached a ceiling, because of the lack of any further grade progression; which is contrary to the letter and spirit of the resolution. Hence, the provinces started to selectively implement the resolution, which created inconsistences. While some provinces decided not to translate levels seven (7) and eight (8), in order to circumvent placing themselves in a precarious position, others tried to force a fit; giving rise to personal notches at the expense of career pathing.

Parallel to these discrepancies, there was a concern of misappropriation of FPOs, i.e. FPOs were found themselves performing functions that they perceived to fall outside their scope of practice, such as dissecting bodies, removing organs, replacing organs, stitching bodies, and preparing organs for investigation by pathologists. According to the FPOs, they understood their duties strictly, to collect (physical collection), process, safekeep and release corpses, record keeping, assist with post-mortem preparations, and attend court, as and when required.

Due to this very conflict, there was a work to rule or withdrawal of these services, by the FPOs in Gauteng, in June 2017, which cascaded to other provinces, like Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal. The pressure from the withdrawal of these services, led to the Gauteng Department of Health withdrawing from Resolution 2 of 2010, and remunerating the FPOs through the administrative levels system.

In an attempt to address the conflict, the Council concluded Resolution 4 of 2017, in order to provide for the payment of a special allowance and a danger allowance, to FPOs. The resolution also provided for the payment of a provisional allowance, pending the finalisation of a new model that would take into account all the concerns raised by the FPOs. The provisions were envisaged to take effect within a period of six (6) months, which expired on 29 December 2017. The expiration of the six (6) month period without a new model, led FPOs in Gauteng, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal to again withdraw their services, in March 2018.

The parties at the Council have undertaken to expedite the process and find an amicable and long-lasting solution. Processes are at an advanced stage at the Health Professions Council of South Africa in terms of creating a professional register for the FPO. The regulations relating to the registration of Forensic Pathology Officers have been promulgated by the Minister of Health for public comment. The regulations are pending final promulgation after the inputs by the public.

The Council is also seized with the process of finalising a new model for the FPOs and interested parties and the public will be kept informed about progress.

ADV James Matshekga ” Referral of Alleged unfair Dismissal or unfair Labour practice Disputes”

The Referral of Alleged unfair Dismissal or unfair Labour practice Disputes to the Council for Arbitration – The Implications of SAMWu Obo Manentza V Ngwathe Local Municipality and Others [2015] 9 BLLR 894 (LAC) (Article by Adv James Ngoako Matshekga part­time Resident panellist)

Introduction

In giving effect to the constitutionally entrenched right of everyone to fair labour practices, the LRA, in section 185 thereof, gives every employee the right, not to be unfairly dismissed and not to be subjected to an unfair labour practice. Where an employee feels an employer has violated his/her right as provided in section 185 of the LRA, he/she may challenge the fairness of the employer’s conduct by referring a dispute to the Council.

Click here to download the full article.

International Nurses Day

International Nurses Day (IND) is celebrated around the world every May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The IND theme for 2016 is : Nurses: A Force for Change: Improving Health Systems’ Resilience.

We extend our gratitude to all the nurses in South Africa for their committment and hard work in keeping our country healthy.   Nurses all over, are encouraged to embrace the IND theme through individual action and group activities, within their health care facilities and organisations.

Council Negotiations

Negotiations, are scheduled to take place from 21 – 23 September 2015, on the review of the following PHSDSBC collective agreements:
1. Resolution 1 of 2001 – Establishment of Council Committees
2. Resolution 2 of 2007 – Operations of Chambers
3. Resolution 7 of 2008 – Coordination of Caucuses
4. Resolution 2 of 2004 -Rural Allowance
5. Resolution 1 of 2009 -OSD for Social Service Professionals and Occupations
6. Resolution 1 of 2013 – Danger Allowance
Today, 21 September 2015, the negotiations take off and we wish the parties successful deliberations.

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Limpopo Chamber

The Limpopo Chamber held on the 26th of August, adopted five (5) policies from the Department of Social Development. Those policies would be reviewed yearly. The adopted policies are as follows:

1. Leave Policy
2. Overtime Policy
3. Resettlement Policy
4. Retention of Staff policy
5. Termination of Service Policy

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Council Meeting in Progress

PHSDSBC Meeting in progress. On the agenda, amongst others, are the following items: Draft Agreement on the Averaging of Working Hours and Transfer and Placement of the Inspections, Compliance, and Complaints Functions to the Health Standards Compliance (OHSC).

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African Traditional Medicine Week

As we celebrate African medicine week, it is important that we understand practice of African medicine in our society and the values therefore,

Traditional African medicine is a holistic discipline involving indigenous herbalism and African spirituality, typically involving diviners, midwives, and herbalists. Practitioners of traditional African medicine claim to be able to cure various and diverse conditions such as cancers, psychiatric disorders, high blood pressure, cholera, most venereal diseases, epilepsy, asthma, eczema, fever, anxiety, depression, benign prostatic hyperplasia, urinary tract infections, gout, and healing of wounds and burns and even Ebola. About 80% of Africa’s population relies on traditional medicine for their basic health needs. In some cases traditional medicine is the only healthcare service available, accessible and affordable to many people on the continent. In this case the significant contribution of traditional medicine as a major provider of healthcare services in Africa cannot be underestimated.