The Gauteng Department of Health and Social Development has made a commitment to increase the intake of nursing students in the next five years to help build an effective health system.
The department aims to recruit a total of 2 660 new nursing students to start training in 2012.
In the next five years, the department aims to increase the intake by 25 per cent per year.
Provincial Health and Social Development MEC Ntombi Mekgwe noted that over the past eight years, the department had annually been increasing the number of students admitted for training in its colleges by 20 per cent. She said the number of student nurses admitted for training in Gauteng has increased almost fourfold.
The reopening of two nursing colleges, Bonalesedi and Rahima Moosa, has resulted in the intake of student nurses growing from 500 in 1998/99 to 1 968 in 2010/11.
Mekgwe has instructed that further attempts should be made to increase the enrolment of nurses, particularly in specialised fields such as midwifery.
Since 2009, the department has also been training pharmacy assistants and clinical associates.
The first group of these professionals are expected to graduate in 2012. They will be employed at district hospitals and clinics where they will be able to assess patients, make diagnoses, prescribe appropriate treatment and undertake minor surgical procedures under the supervision of qualified medical practitioners.
The department will advertise health science bursaries at the end of August this year. The next intake of nurses will be in January 2012.