South Africa 29.9.2015 01:56 pm

Nurses should be allowed to dispense Morphine – MEC

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and Health HOD Sibongile Zungu. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Themba Mngomezulu)

KwaZulu-Natal Health MEC Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo and Health HOD Sibongile Zungu. (Photo by Gallo Images / Sowetan / Themba Mngomezulu)

KwaZulu-Natal MEC for health Sibongiseni Dhlomo is calling for the pain management drug, Morphine to be made available for nurses to dispense to patients with chronic ailments to spare them the unnecessary pain and suffering.

Dhlomo was speaking yesterday at the three-day Palliative Care Conference attended by delegates from countries such as United States of America, UK, Botswana and Uganda held at the Hilton Hotel.

In South Africa, only doctors are allowed by the law to dispense the drug, Morphine which is a schedule 7 drug to patients.

He said nurses are empowered to dispense the drug is Uganda successfully and suggested that South Africa needed to follow the example as he does not see any reason why the approach cannot be replicated locally.

“I believe that we need to have a dialogue in order to establish why our nurses cannot do the same.
” I feel that patients with life-threatening and life limiting conditions can benefit positively,” he said.

He said this country has a good supply of nurses and are already giving Pethridine- which is a drug similar to Morphine in maternity wards.

“We are faced with a situation where a doctor has to leave one hospital to administer Morphine to a patient at another hospital.
“We don’t have enough doctors to do that. Instead let us train nurses in the same way patients are accessing ARVs through nurses, I am going to push for it,” said Dhlomo.

He said it is not that Morphine is not available, but he is arguing that there are few doctors to administer the drug while patients need it.
Which means if a nurse cannot have access to a doctor, patients cannot have access to Morphine.

He added that the majority if not all health facilities must offer palliative care to ensure that the majority of people who require it do get it.
The conference ends today.

 

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