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Bulawayo City Council employs nurses past retirement

by Staff reporter
31 Mar 2024 at 16:44hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) may soon start employing nurses past the retirement age of 65 as it grapples with the effects of brain drain after it emerged that the local authority is losing younger employees to the private sector and the diaspora.

In recent council deliberations, it was noted that those nearing retirement and those that have reached or were past it, were the most loyal.

The local authority last month flighted a vacancy to hire 50 contract nurses as part of measures to reduce the 137 nurse staffing deficit at the local authority's clinics.

As part of the qualifications set by the local authority, interested candidates had to be registered with the Nursing Council of Zimbabwe and should have two years' experience as a qualified nurse.

The council's corporate communications manager, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu, was quoted as saying, council has 113 full-time nurses, with 101 contract nurses scheduled to be employed full-time.

"The contract nurses recruitment is expected to reduce the deficit of 137. The current nursing establishment is 351 which the city is also relooking," said Mrs Mpofu.

However, according to a council confidential report, the local authority in February had employed 100 registered general nurses, a majority of which, it was revealed were already nearing the retirement age of 65, with the oldest being 63 while the youngest was 30.

The local authority has claimed that nurses over the age of 65 are the most loyal in the nursing profession.

The anomaly was noted by councillors when deliberating on the engagement of nurses who are nearing retirement, with ward 10 Councillor Khalazani Ndlovu questioning the logic in the move.

"In response to Councillor Khalazani Ndlovu, the human capital director, Mr Makhosi Tshalebwa, agreed that the recommended nurses were of an older age. However, he indicated that the younger nurses were resigning from council services in pursuit of greener pastures.

"He advised council that it would be prudent to start employing nurses over the age of 65, who were still fit to serve. He indicated that the older nurses were the most loyal in the field of nursing," reads the report.

For some time now, the local authority has noted that its clinics have been operating at less than 50 percent staffing capacity, according to previous council minutes of the Health Department.

Council reports indicate that most council clinics are now largely manned by locum nurses — inexperienced nurses hired on a temporary basis as the local authority struggles to fill vacant posts.

Meanwhile, the council is working on coming up with non-monetary incentives, which include the provision of housing stands, to its workers in a bid to retain their services, avoiding the brain drain that continues to haunt it.

According to the same report, Mr Tshalebwa said they had engaged their employees to come up with the non-financial incentives.

"He indicated that in the past they had formed a union which had suggested that 20 percent of stands serviced by council should go to its workers. He indicated that the department was working on the idea to come up with non-financial incentives.

"The Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube said the existing policy stated that 30 percent of council stands allocation should be to council employees. He also indicated that there was a pool of funds where council employees would contribute and that money would be used to pay for their residential stands," reads the report.

Source - sundaynews