Articles

The public’s attitude towards strike action by healthcare workers and health services in South Africa

Ames Dhai, Harriet Rosanne Etheredge, Merryll Vorster, Yosuf Veriava

Abstract


Objectives. To evaluate a representative group of South Africans for their views about healthcare worker strikes and related matters.
Methods. A descriptive, cross-sectional, self-administered questionnaire-based study of 600 participants over the age of 18 years and able to read English, from two representative shopping malls (300 from each mall) in Greater Johannesburg. Data were analysed using SAS software version 9.1.3 for Windows. Tests for significant relationships were carried out using Pearson’s χ2 test at the 0.05 confidence level. The strength of the associations was determined by Cramer’s V.
Results. Results revealed strong opinions among the population regarding strikes, numerous misapprehensions when it comes to striking and rights, a poor awareness of other healthcare-related rights and the perception of poor treatment at public hospitals.
Conclusions. A majority of South Africans are aware of the healthcare worker strikes and are dissatisfied with the manner in which these take place, with strong objections to the perceived neglect of the critically ill during strikes, compounded by poor treatment at public hospitals. Many South Africans lack awareness of human rights issues, a situation which requires urgent remedy.

Authors' affiliations

Ames Dhai, Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, University of the Witwatersrand

Harriet Rosanne Etheredge, Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, Facutly of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Merryll Vorster, Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, Facutly of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

Yosuf Veriava, Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, Facutly of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg

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Keywords

Healthcare worker strikes, Patient rights, Industrial action by healthcare workers, public perceptions of healthcare worker strikes.

Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2011;4(2):58.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-10-04
Date published: 2011-12-15

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