The government has directed training institutions to reduce enrolment of student nurses into nursing schools by over 80 percent, as it battles to deal with the swelling numbers of qualified nurses who have not been employed due to the vacancy freeze in the civil service, Sunday News can reveal.

Government’s 15 training institutions on average admitted about 60 students per intake twice a year, but they have since been ordered to admit not more than 10 students per intake.

 The order comes into effect from September when the nursing schools have their next intake. Nurses, who graduated and have not been practising for the past three years, will also be required to undergo retraining before they start work.

 Sources in the Ministry of Health and Child Care told Sunday News last week that the move to cut enrolment of student nurses was due to lack of funds as well as meant to contain the swelling number of unemployed qualified nurses.

 More than 2 800 qualified nurses are jobless after Government imposed a freeze on recruitment of nurses. Last year about 600 health workers’ posts were declared vacant but the posts have not been filled as Treasury is yet to secure funds to allow the Health Services Board to recruit.

 “We have been told not to enrol more than 10 students because of lack of resources. The main reason is that Government cannot continue to train nurses who will be jobless at the end of the day. We cannot continue to train people so that they sit at home. So the idea is to train a few, while modalities on absorbing the jobless ones are worked on,” said a source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

 “The communication we got from head office is that qualified nurses who have not been practising for the past three years will also need to undergo training before they are employed. The assumption is that the nurses would have lost most of the skills due to redundancy”.

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