A healthcare centre, whether private or public, is a sensitive environment. This is where people go in sick, at the verge of dying for some and come out with an improved health.
Healthcare givers are a big part of the health system. They understand the pain patients go through and how to take care of several patients for many hours.
It is, therefore, a risky business when hospitals, especially private entities, hire unqualified nurses to cater for the sick. It is said that private hospital care is money-oriented rather than the well-being of the sick. Employing unqualified staff confirms this.
But why are private hospitals hiring unqualified nurses putting the lives of their patients at risk? Our writer talked to Dr Evans Kiprotich, Uasin Gishu County Director of Health, who has rich experience in both public and private hospitals.
Private hospitals solely depend on their patients for finance, unless they are funded by a donor(s). The money they make is obviously good judging by the number of private hospitals in the country.
“They want to reduce on their expenditure and ensure they have more profits,” explains Dr Kiprotich. After all, it is a business and making a profit is the motto for every trade.
Unqualified nurses are easy to maintain with a little salary that gives them a sense of belonging to an organisation despite their unlicensed services.
Government is a big employer
“The turnover of nurses in private hospitals is quite high. Nurses do not stay long in privately-owned healthcare because there is no job security compared to the government,” says Dr Kiprotich.
Government jobs come with security such as accessibility to loan facilities, something that lacks in private entities.
This drains the number of qualified nurses in the private hospitals as their few qualified caregivers are looking over the fence for greener pastures.
This leaves private hospitals scrambling for the few certified nurses and many unqualified caregivers.
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A more experienced and licensed nurse, the higher the pay. Employing inexperienced nurses implies paying less salary as mentioned above.
Cheap labour while banking mega profits does not seem like a bad idea in the capitalist economy. The hospital saves more, earns more and spends less.
Lack of union representation
Have you ever noted that caregivers in private hospital never go on strike? Here is why; some of those employed by private facilities are uncertified thus they cannot register with any union.
Further, this leaves these nurses at the mercy of their employers who can fire them anytime without warning.
“The advantage of being registered with a union is that your job can be fought for even to the court level. This can be a burden to the private hospitals and they will use all means to ensure that their workers are not involved with any workers union,” says Dr Kiprotich.
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“There’s actually up to nil risks when a private hospital hires unqualified caregivers,” notes Dr Kiprotich.
The fact that health sector regulators in the country rarely raid private hospitals to gauge the services being offered encourages the rogue hiring.
These hospitals operate within their own means and are never questioned until a dispute between family members and the hospitals blows up to the media as a result of negligence, misdiagnosis, surgeries gone wrong or incorrect prescriptions that lead to death.