Nurses’ union rejects proposed bill

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  • “It was done in bad faith”
  • “We will reject bill if our counterproposal is not included”-BONU

SESUPO RANTSIMAKO

FRANCISTOWN: The proposed Health Profession and Midwives Act amendment bill, in its current form, means that ‘outsiders’ are going to take decisions on behalf of health professionals.
This is according to Botswana Nurses Union President (BONU) Obonolo Rahube who says they will reject the bill which seeks to establish a Health Profession Council. “How can we let outsiders to take decisions on our behalf while we as the health professionals are looking from a distance. Our position is very clear, we will not accept this bill unless the counter proposal we made is included,” he said, decrying lack of consultation.
According to the proposed bill, the mandate of Health Profession Council will be, among other things, to appoint disciplinary committees to oversee disciplinary proceedings against registered health professional; establish a private practice licensing committee; to regulate private practitioners through the Director of Health Services as well as to provide the standard of knowledge, skills and proficiency for health professionals.
BONU however contends that the bill was done in bad faith because, the union whose members make a large part of the health profession in Botswana, is not represented. The union also questions the criteria for establishing various categories of professional committees saying it is “not specific” and that the committees themselves “are not identified.” Regarding the appointment of Registrars and Assistant Registrars, the union says the bill is segregating as it only focuses on public officers and does not, on top of that, identify the criteria for selecting members of the Private Practice Committee.
In its analysis presented to the Ministry of Health following the gazetting of the bill, BONU contends that aspects like qualifications and equal representation are integral to the establishment of the council. “It must be noted that the nursing profession forms a large part of the health profession workforce in the Ministry of Health, at about 70 percent thus inevitably requiring representation within higher structures regarding health decisions” the statement reads in part.