Botswana Nurses Union (BONU) is steadfast on its plans to send Batswana nurses to the United Kingdom (UK) despite government promise to review nurse’s salaries to stop brain drain.
BONU President Peter Baleseng told this publication that they will continue to send Batswana nurses to the UK until government acts on its promise.
Baleseng highlighted that they have only heard of government plans to review nurses’ salaries on media reports adding that they have not been approached to discuss the issues.
“We want the best for our nurses and that is why we engaged the UK NHS trust to ensure that they move overseas to have better pay but I want to assure you that we are open to any engagements with government over this issue. We will only stop if government comes to the table and further acts on its promise because we also want our health professions to assist their fellow citizens,” said Baleseng.
Baleseng also stated that the Union only seeks to ensure that conditions of work for nurses are good adding that should government commit to that they will drive more nurses towards public health facilities.
He stated that they are expecting more nurses to leave for the UK in the coming days after succeeding in their recent interviews.
“We have already sent some of our representatives to the UK to ensure that conditions of service for our nurses are good. I must tell you that we will not compromise anywhere when we decide that our nurses should pursue their careers even government should know that,” said Baleseng.
Recently, government moved swiftly to review salaries and incentives of nurses in a bid to prevent their move to the UK following recent departures from Botswana by over 60 nurses to the UK to work for an NHS trust.
The nurses who have been trained in mental and physical health started their roles this month in different health facilities overseas.
The Assistant Minister of Health, Sethomo Lelatisitswe told parliament that government is working around the clock to improve nurses’ working conditions as a way of preventing them from taking up jobs overseas.
Studies have argued that the brain drain of healthcare workers should be addressed as a global problem as it highlights staff shortages in the health system which in turn affects the quality of care for patients.
Meanwhile, earlier this year, a UK Professor Natalie Hammond when recruiting health workers in Botswana said a robust nursing workforce would help her country provide safe care and meet the needs of communities.